News

Langley mushroom farm owner claims ignorance

Langley mushroom farm owners L to R: Van Thi Troung, her husband Ha Qua Truong and Thinh Huu Doan. Doan didn
Langley mushroom farm owners L to R: Van Thi Troung, her husband Ha Qua Truong and Thinh Huu Doan. Doan didn't show up when he was expected to testify in the Coroner's Inquest.
— image credit: File photo

The owner of A-1 Mushroom Substratum claimed to have no knowledge of safety measures, dangerous off-gassing from composting or any other functions of his mushroom farm in Langley, where three of his employees died and two others were permanently injured in a 2008 workplace accident.

At a Coroner's Inquest in Burnaby on Wednesday, Ha Quan Truong testified that he hired a supervisor and manager to handle everything on the farm.

He said he has no understanding of WorkSafe regulations, nor did he know that the smelly gases could be deadly.

The owner considers himself a victim in all of this, he said in his testimony. He said he had lost all his money in legal fees.

This farm had been on the Township's radar screen for several years before the accident. The Township made several orders to the farm to stop producing compost. The Township also obtained a court order stating that compositing must cease in June, 2007.

Truong ignored those orders. He said at the inquest that he had considered suing the Township because it did not help him solve the problem.

Aldergrove-Fort Langley MLA Rich Coleman paid a visit to the farm, because he had received so many complaints about the smell, prior to the farm workers' death.

On Tuesday, the lead investigator for WorkSafe BC testified that A-1 Mushroom was a dangerous place to work. The pump house the men died in was destined to be dangerous, given its poor design and confined space. Most of it was built without engineering consultation.

Ut Tran, 35, Han Pham, 47, and Chi Wai (Jimmy) Chan died on Sept. 5, 2008 while working at A-1 Mushroom Substratum Ltd. on 16 Avenue. Two other employees have been left with permanent brain damage.

One survivor, Tchen Phan, is in a wheelchair and cannot hear, talk or walk . The other, Michael Phan, a Langley father of two, has been in a coma since the 2008 incident.

Leibel and a jury will hear evidence from subpoenaed witnesses for several more days, to determine the facts surrounding these deaths.

 

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.

You might like ...

Hunters protest shift favouring non-residents
 
Province okays transit tax referendum question, with some tweaks
 
Second Langley farm hit by avian flu
Australian woman arrested in deaths of 8 children
 
Williams Park lights will go on Thursday
 
NDP blasts lottery corporation spending
“Suspicious” Agassiz house fire under investigation
 
Search for answers in South Surrey homicides continues
 
Community generosity overflows the food bank in District of Kent

Community Events, December 2014

Add an Event


Read the latest eEdition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Dec 18 edition online now. Browse the archives.