Faulty guard rail to blame in fatal fall of 2 men in Lachine coroner

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The balcony guard rail of a Lachine apartment building that gave way and caused two men to fall to their deaths in 2015 was anchored by screws that were either too short or rusting, a Quebec coroner has found.

Jimmy Shecanapish, 32, and Job Nelson Guanish, 23, died after falling more than eight metres from the third-floor balcony they were standing on in the early hours of Dec. 6, 2015.

A third man on the balcony survived the fall, but with severe injuries.

In reports made public this week on the deaths of both men, coroner Gilles Sainton noted that when police and firefighters arrived at the Victoria St. building’s parking lot where the men had hit the ground, officers were able to see the third-floor guard rail still hanging off the balcony above them.

Provincial building inspectors sent to inspect the balcony after the event found that “certain screws meant to keep the guard rail in place were too short and others rusted, not permitting sufficient anchorage to adequately maintain the guard rail.”

Sainton wrote that inspections of other balconies found that some were missing screws, others were rusted and some anchored to wooden floors that were rotting.

The coroner reported that the building’s third-floor balconies were re-installed four days after the incident and that repairs to the rest of the building’s balconies were in the process of being carried out.

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