Evacuated residents can return home after crews cap gas leak outside Michael Garron Hospital
Published Tuesday, June 6, 2023 10:41AM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, June 6, 2023 1:59PM EDT
Evacuation orders have now been lifted for residents in the city’s east end after crews capped a significant gas leak at the entrance to Michael Garron Hospital’s emergency department.
Toronto Fire said construction crews working outside the hospital, located at Coxwell and Mortimer avenues, ruptured a natural gas line at around 9:30 a.m.
Ten fire crews and a hazardous material team responded to the scene, pouring water on the line to disperse the gas.
Toronto police shut down roads in the area and urged members of the public to steer clear of the situation.
Dozens of homes in the area were evacuated and students at nearby RH McGregor Elementary School were asked to shelter in place.
Patients and staff were able to remain inside the hospital but the emergency department temporarily redirected new admissions to other hospitals. The East York Civic Centre was evacuated as a precaution.
A command post was set up at Sammon and Coxwell avenues and TTC buses were on site for residents displaced by the gas leak.
No injuries were reported.
At around 1 p.m., Toronto Fire Chief Jim Jessop confirmed that Enbridge had successfully capped the leak and residents could return home.
“Everybody did everything could, as safely as they could, and as quickly as they could,” Jessop told reporters at the scene on Tuesday afternoon.
He added that the safety of the public was never at risk.
“There was no risk to the school. There was no risk to the East York Civic Centre or any person in the hospital,” Jessop said.
“At no time did we detect gas readings inside or outside the hospital that would cause us concern.”
The gas intake valves to the hospital were shut off along with the hospital’s ventilation system in order to prevent gas from getting inside the building, officials said.
Wolf Klassen, the interim president and CEO of Michael Garron Hospital, said none of the approximately 500 patients inside the facility were moved as a result of the gas leak.
He noted that the hospital will work to reschedule any appointments that were missed by people who were unable to access the site.
Klassen said they do not yet know the circumstances that led up to the incident.
“It did not involve any hospital staff,” he told reporters.
He confirmed that construction company EllisDon is currently carrying out renovations at the hospital.
In a statement, EllisDon said one of the subcontractors working on the grounds struck a gas line, which caused the leak.
"A full investigation is underway to better understand the exact cause," the statement read.
"We want thank Toronto Fire, Police, Enbridge and the teams at Michael Garron Hospital for their speedy reaction...We'd also like to apologize to the patients and staff of the hospital, residents of the community and anyone else affected."