The City of Toronto and its agencies responded to a call at 235 Gosford Blvd. on the evening of Friday, November 15. Crews battled a five-alarm fire throughout the evening and evacuated the approximately 700 residents from the 15-storey building in the Jane and Steeles area.
Toronto Hydro disconnected power to the building as directed by the Electrical Safety Authority and the building will not reopen until all repair work required has been completed by the owner. The investigation into the origin, cause and circumstances of the fire is being conducted by Toronto Police Service, Toronto Fire Services and the Ontario Fire Marshal.
A handful of residents were assessed by paramedics at the scene and one was transported to hospital for further care. Tragically, one person was found deceased on a balcony on the eighth floor. Condolences on behalf of the City are with the deceased’s family and friends.
An emergency reception centre was set up at the Driftwood Community Centre to meet the immediate needs of the displaced residents. Approximately 165 residents registered with the Canadian Red Cross and over the past two evenings approximately 100 residents (accumulatively) stayed overnight at the reception centre.
Today, thanks to a generous offer from York University, the emergency reception centre will move to the Tait McKenzie Centre at 1 Thompson Rd., less than two kilometres from the apartment building. Red Cross will continue to operate the reception centre at its new location. The TTC will assist with transporting the residents to the new location.
The reception centre is pet-friendly and will offer meals, cots and blankets, washrooms and showers, secure storage of personal belongings, animal care for pets and service animals and personal services such as hygiene kits and mental health support. The City is also in discussion with the school boards to facilitate travel to schools for children staying at the reception centre.
Displaced residents should contact their tenant’s insurance provider to determine what support and assistance is available to them during this time. Residents are also encouraged to contact family members and friends to arrange for accommodation where possible. The City provides emergency shelter and related support for up to 14 days after an emergency to all residents who require it regardless of their financial status and whether their residence is publicly- or privately-owned.
235 Gosford Blvd. is privately-owned and the property management company is working with the appropriate authorities, engineers and restoration experts to assess damage to the building and to restore the building as quickly as possible.
235 Gosford Ave. is not safe for public entry. Limited and escorted access is being provided to retrieve pets and medications that cannot be refilled from a pharmacy. Retrievals of any other items are not being allowed at this time.
Residents of 235 Gosford Blvd. should register with Red Cross whether or not they need support or shelter at this time. Registering makes it easier for residents to access service should they need it later and ensures they receive critical updates.
Family members and friends of residents of 235 Gosford Blvd. who have concerns can email email@example.com and include details about who they are looking for, their relationship to the person, and their own contact details.
At this time, the City of Toronto and Red Cross are not requesting or accepting donations of any kind in support of the residents of 235 Gosford Blvd. Through the emergency reception centre, the immediate needs of the displaced residents will be met. The processing, storage and distribution of food, clothing and other material donations is challenging and costly. The need for such donations and/or financial contributions will be re-evaluated as needed.
All recreational programming at the Driftwood Community Centre will resume as of Monday, November 18. Residents can monitor recreation centre service alerts at www.toronto.ca/data/parks/alerts/centres/index.html.
Toronto is Canada’s largest city, the fourth largest in North America, and home to a diverse population of about 2.9 million people. It is a global centre for business, finance, arts and culture and is consistently ranked one of the world’s most livable cities. For information on non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can visit http://www.toronto.ca, call 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, or follow us on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/CityofToronto, on Instagram at http://www.instagram.com/cityofto or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/cityofto.