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Widow files civil suit claiming 2021 Kelowna crane collapse result of ‘negligence’

The investigation into the collapse that killed 5 is ongoing

A widow has filed a civil claim in the Supreme Court of B.C., claiming that negligence resulted in the death of her husband during the 2021 crane collapse in Kelowna.

On July 12, 2021, Helen Margaret Furuya’s husband Brad Zawislak, 43, was working at an office building on St. Paul Street next to a construction site when a crane, owned by Stemmer Construction, collapsed. The crane crashed into Zawislak’s office, causing significant injuries that led to his death at the scene of the incident.

Five men died as a result of the collapse, including Cailen Vilness, Jared Zook, and Patrick Stemmer and Eric Stemmer.

Zawislak had been working with Protech Consulting and was not associated with Stemmer Construction, the company which owned and operated the crane.

Furuya filed a claim against the construction company, five unidentified people and two other unnamed companies on June 13, 2023, claiming that the loss of her husband is a result of negligence.

She is requesting relief for general damages, special damages, management fees, tax gross-up, and costs after suffering the loss of love, guidance, care, support, financial support and companionship from her husband. Furuya’s claim requests financial compensation but the amount remains undisclosed.

The specifics of the incident are under investigation by Work Safe BC and the RCMP.

In May 2023, the RCMP released a statement saying that the criminal investigation is “extensive and complex”, and will most likely be prolonged for an extended period of time.

WorkSafeBC said on May 16 that their portion of the investigation, involving the crane components, sequence of events and workplace procedures that led to the collapse has been concluded.

As the RCMP’s criminal investigation is ongoing, the decision has been made to not yet release WorkSafeBC’s report publically.

A GoFundMe was started for Furuya and her two children, following Zawislak’s death, which raised more than $320,000.

READ MORE: WorkSafeBC fatal Kelowna crane collapse findings to not be released amid criminal probe

READ MORE: VIDEO: Memorial marks one year since deadly crane collapse shook Kelowna


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Jacqueline Gelineau

About the Author: Jacqueline Gelineau

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