12/20/2011 02:07 EST | Updated 02/19/2012 05:12 EST

Inquest ordered into mushroom farm deaths

The BC Coroners Service announced Tuesday it will hold an inquest into the 2008 deaths of three workers at a Langley, B.C., mushroom farm.

Ut Tran, 35, Han Pham, 47, and Chi Wai Chan, 55, all died within moments of entering a pump shed where toxic gas had accumulated in September 2008. Two other workers survived but suffered permanent, severe brain damage in the incident.

Last month, the B.C. Supreme Court fined the operators a total of $350,000 after the companies pleaded guilty to 10 of 29 charges laid under occupational health and safety laws after a lengthy investigation by WorkSafeBC.

In a written statement released Tuesday, chief coroner Lisa Lapointe said the inquest will take a broader look at the incident in an attempt to prevent similar deaths in the future.

During the inquest, presiding coroner Norm Leibel and a jury will hear evidence from subpoenaed witnesses to determine the facts surrounding the deaths.

An inquest jury may not, by law, make any findings of fault or legal responsibility. However, it will have the opportunity to make recommendations related to the evidence presented.

The inquest is scheduled to start on May 7 2012.