A former Penticton fire chief has launched civil claim against city

Former fire chief suing city

A former Penticton fire chief has filed a civil claim against the City of Penticton after a slip-and-fall incident at the South Okanagan Events Centre in November. 

Douglas Hutcheson was Penticton's fire chief for five years prior to his retirement in 2001. On Feb. 11, he filed suit against the city and Global Spectrum Facility Management, which the city contracts to run the SOEC.

Hutcheson alleges that he was having a meal at the Vault's self-serve buffet on Nov. 22, 2019 when, while moving through the buffet line, he slipped and fell "on greasy residue which had been allowed to accumulate on the adjacent flooring."

The suit claims he suffered injuries to his right knee including damage to a previous partial knee replacement, ligament and tendon damage, soft tissue strain, permanent partial disability and more. 

"As a result of the fall and the injuries, the plaintiff has sustained certain special damages, including expenses for medical and rehabilitative treatment," reads the suit. 

Hutcheson's claim is that negligence on the part of both the city and the management company resulted in his fall, including failing to install traction on the gloss-finished concrete flooring, not inspecting the area in a timely manner to determine whether spillage had occurred, and failing to warn customers of the potential hazards in the buffet area. 

He is seeking various general and special damages related to his medical costs and costs of care. 

When reached by Castanet Wednesday, Hutcheson declined to comment on the lawsuit.

The City of Penticton similarly declined comment. 

"The city is working with our liability insurance company, Municipal Insurance Association of British Columbia and Spectra (and its insurance company) to review and determine next steps on this claim. As this matter is before the Courts we will not be providing any further comments at this time," said communications manager Philip Cooper. 

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