Local contractor Jesse Bennett was killed by carbon monoxide poisoning on Boxing Day when he went to check on a custom home his company was building in the Hart, according to group holding a GoFundMe campaign for his family.
A spokesperson for the BC Coroners Service confirmed that coroners are investigating a death on Boxing Day in Prince George, but could provide no further details until the investigation is complete.
“On Dec. 26, 2021, WorkSafeBC was notified of a serious workplace incident in the 6100 block of Poplar Place in Prince George. WorkSafeBC has launched an investigation,” a spokesperson for WorkSafeBC said in an email. “The purpose of our investigation is to identify the cause of the incident, including any contributing factors, so that similar incidents can be prevented from happening in the future.”
Chad Erickson, Dan Prenger, Robert Wittmack and Matt Walsh have started a GoFundMe campaign to support Bennett’s family. As of Thursday, the campaign had raised nearly $70,000.
“Jesse who is the sole owner of Crimson Projects, a local construction company in Prince George, was out early to check on one of the custom homes he was building. He was going to fuel up the generator that was being used to fuel the heater curing the basement foundation, when he was overcome with carbon monoxide poisoning and passed away,” the group wrote on the GoFundMe page. “Jesse leaves behind four beautiful children ranging 2-13 years of age with his wife Siyanna, who now becomes a single family incomer working as a nurse for Northern Health.”
Bennett lived in Prince George since 1997 and was a Red Seal tradesman, his biography on the Crimson Projects’ website says.
“The more in-depth experience of building the ‘bones’ of a home piqued Jesse’s natural interest in broader construction techniques, and inspired a passion for the incredible potential of modern homebuilding. Crimson Projects was founded in pursuit of that passion,” the site says.
Terri McConnachie, executive officer of the Canadian Homebuilders Association of Northern B.C., said the local construction association is devastated by the loss, and intend to rally around his family. Members of the local CHBA will be working with other local construction industry groups to help the Bennett family, she said.
“He was very engaged with the industry and the community also,” McConnachie said. “He was just the nicest man. Just a good, solid human being.”
While construction is a highly-competitive industry, people in the industry take care of their own, she said.
In addition to raising funds to support the family, McConnachie said his death is a tragic reminder that when it comes to heating and working in enclosed spaces, a simple mistake can cost a life. The CHBA will be working with its partners to raise awareness about the issue.
“I’ve spoken with two other members who’ve had close calls (with carbon monoxide). It is an honest mistake that can happen to smart, good people… with tragic consequences,” McConnachie said. “Nobody goes to work expecting not to come home. We don’t want this to ever happen to anyone else.”