Coroner investigating 'sudden death' of Burnaby man

The 49-year-old had 'COVID-like' symptoms, according to the fire department.

The BC Coroners Service is investigating the death of a 49-year-old man with “COVID-like” symptoms in Burnaby Wednesday night.

Crews were called to a home in the 5300 block of Dominion Avenue at about 8 p.m. for a possible cardiac arrest, according to assistant fire Chief Stewart Colbourne.

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Once firefighters were on scene, Colbourne said family members told them the man had been sick for a while, with symptoms that included a fever.

“They were symptoms that appeared to be COVID-like,” Colbourne said. “We were just responding as if it was.”

The man was unresponsive with no pulse when firefighters arrived, Colbourne said, and firefighters and paramedics performed CPR, but the man was not revived before being taken away by ambulance, according to Colbourne.

The BC Coroners Service confirmed it had been notified and was “in the very early stages of investigating the sudden death of a male in Burnaby.”

“However, it would be premature to speculate on cause of death and not something we could comment on during an open investigation,” stated an emailed response.

The firefighters who entered the home during the call were outfitted in hazmat suits and self-contained breathing apparatus, and could be seen spraying their equipment and one another with a decontaminant afterwards.

Colbourne said firefighters now respond to every call as though patients are COVID-19 positive.

“It’s quite an extensive procedure that we’ve introduced,” he said.

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