Residents displaced in apartment fire moved to shelter at York University
TORONTO — City officials say an emergency shelter for hundreds of people who were displaced after an apartment fire in Toronto has been moved to a nearby university.
They say York University offered to house the residents and the Canadian Red Cross will provide meals, cots, blankets, showers, personal hygiene items and pet care.
Roughly 700 residents had to leave their homes and one person died when a fire erupted in a 15-storey apartment building in the city’s north end.
The city says authorities, engineers and restoration experts are working to reopen the building as soon as possible.
About 165 residents have signed in with the Canadian Red Cross and 100 residents have stayed at the aid organization’s shelter since the blaze.
About 100 firefighters and 22 trucks raced to the scene of the five-alarm blaze Friday as flames and smoke belched from the building. Toronto Fire Chief Matthew Pegg said Saturday that firefighters discovered the body on the eighth floor around 1 a.m.
“Unfortunately, given the heavy flames … we simply were not able to get into those suites until such time as the crews had suppressed the fire,” he said.
The office of Ontario Fire Marshal said it has traced the source of the blaze to the eighth floor apartment where the deceased person was found.
During the blaze, some terrified tenants went out on their balconies where witnesses said they could be heard screaming for help.
Pegg called the work to extinguish the fire a “demanding, complex operation” and said firefighters removed six people from their apartments.
“We literally had crews working on every floor of the building, moving from door-to-door-to-door,” he said. “The search for occupants inside the building commenced immediately and literally never stopped.”
Toronto Mayor John Tory said he was saddened to learn of the death caused by the fire, but thanked first responders and the Canadian Red Cross for their work to help those displaced.
Experts from the Office of the Fire Marshal investigate the balcony of the apartment where the fire is thought to have started.