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Video shows man trapped on balcony as fire rages at North York building
Codi Wilson, CP24.com
Published Sunday, November 17, 2019 1:28PM EST
Last Updated Sunday, November 17, 2019 10:12PM EST
WARNING: This story contains details that some may find disturbing.
A new video obtained by CTV News Toronto shows the moments residents realize a man is trapped on an eighth-floor balcony during a five-alarm fire at a North York apartment building on Friday.
In the three-minute video, people can be heard frantically calling for the man to jump.
CP24 has decided to only air a small portion of the video and not show the man.
It took crews several hours to discover the lifeless body of a man. Six others were rescued from the building by firefighters including one person who was sent to hospital with serious but stable condition.
Speaking to reporters Saturday afternoon, Toronto Fire Chief Mathew Pegg said he was frustrated that conditions prevented firefighters from getting to victims sooner.
Hundreds of tenants were forced to evacuate the building on Gosford Boulevard, near Jane Street and Shoreham Drive, after the fire broke out shortly before 5:30 p.m.
About 100 tenants displaced by a deadly fire at a North York highrise over the weekend have been temporarily relocated to a York University athletic centre on Sunday.
About 20 trucks and almost 100 personnel were on the scene at the height of the blaze, which took nearly eight hours to get under control.
Officials confirmed that three floors of the building sustained significant damage and every unit was evacuated due to the fire.
A series of inspections will need to be conducted before anyone can return to the building.
The City of Toronto’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM) partnered with the Red Cross to open the Driftwood Community Centre for those who have been displaced by the blaze.
Approximately 165 of the 700 people who live in the building have registered at the centre, the city said in a news release on Sunday afternoon. About 100 stayed overnight at the centre.
235 Gosford Boulevard is a privately-owned, the city said, and the management is working with authorities, engineers, and restoration experts to asses the damage to the building and to restore it as quickly as possibe.
"We gave residents today a detailed letter about what we're able to provide now and what their expectations ought to be over the next couple of days at any rate so that they know exactly what is happening as much as we do at this time," city spokesperson Brad Ross told CP24.
He said residents are encourage to register with the Red Cross whether or not they'd be sheltered.
They were transported to York University’s Tait McKenzie Centre at around 3 p.m., where they will be housed temporarily. The city says it will also provide accommodations to any of the remaining tenants who have not yet registered at the community centre.
“Right from the get-go it was my sense that York University would be far more comfortable for people," Ward 7 Coun. Anthony Perruzza told CP24 outside the Driftwood Community Centre on Sunday. "The facilities are bigger, better showers, lots more space to move around."
It is not clear when tenants will be allowed to return to their units. Residents who need to retrieve their pets or medications that cannot be refilled from a pharmacy are being provided with limited and escorted access to the building.
Perruzza said while units “completely devastated” by the fire may not be habitable for some time, many other units in the building should be OK to return to in short order.
“I understand the disruption this is causing. I understand that people are worried now about tomorrow, going back to work and getting the kids off to school, and those kinds of things,” he added.
Officials are on site trying to determine what schools the displaced children attend to ensure they make it to class on Monday.
“Really for me now, the full-court press is to make sure that we figure out what is going on with the building so we can get people back into their building, back into their homes, back to their lives,” Perruzza said.
OEM Director Charles Jansen told reporters Saturday that many organizations have stepped up to provide food and other donations to the displaced tenants.
The city said the reception centre is pet-friendly and will offer meals, cots and blankets, washrooms and showers, secure storage of personal belongings, hygiene kits and mental support.
"The City is also in discussion with the school boards to facilitate travel to schools for children staying at the reception centre," the statement read, adding that the city provides shelter and support for up to 14 days after an emerency to all residents.
Residents are being advised to contact their tenant's insurance provider to determine what support is available, the city said.
Family and friends of the residents who have concerns are asked to email firstname.lastname@example.org and include the details of who they are looking for, their relationship to the person, and their contact details.
The Office of the Fire Marshal is currently investigating the cause and origin of the blaze.
Toronto police Insp. Jim Gotell previously said he does not believe there is anything to suggest that the incident is criminal in nature.