West Toronto tenants frustrated after being without power, heat, or hot water for more than two days
A mixed-use complex near Bloor and Dundas streets was without power for almost three days this week following a fire that impacted its main electrical system. (Photo supplied)
Published Wednesday, May 3, 2023 11:12AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, May 3, 2023 11:47AM EDT
Tenants of a west Toronto apartment complex say they want answers and support from the property’s owner after they were left with no power, no heat, and no hot water for more than two days.
On Sunday at around 7 p.m., a fire broke out affecting the electrical system of The Crossways Complex at 2350-2360 Dundas St. The fire resulted in the main power source being cut throughout the property.
A few back-up generators were brought in, which allowed for one elevator to work in each of the two 29-storey towers. Emergency lights were also activated in the hallways and stairwells.
The power came back on at around midnight on Tuesday.
Judy Steppacher, who has lived in a 16th-floor bachelor unit in the complex for about a year, was unable to manage during the outage and went to stay with a friend.
Back in February, she had suffered a heart attack and couldn’t handle the stairs due to her heart condition.
“I can’t properly live with no power,” she said late Tuesday afternoon prior to the electricity being restored.
Steppacher, who is 68, also told CP24.com that she threw away about $150 of spoiled food. She said that management told her to make a claim with renter’s insurance when she inquired about helping with the unexpected expenses associated with this situation.
Two other Crossways tenants, both of whom have young children and live in units above the 15th floor, spoke with CP24.com anonymously out of fear of reprisal from building management.
In both cases, they said they couldn’t function without power, heat, and hot water and were forced to go stay with friends and relatives.
“I have two kids and it’s been very hard to live like this,” said one tenant, adding she’d appreciate some kind of compensation or even a rent subsidy to help pay for the food in her fridge and freezer that spoiled, not to mention the inconvenience of being displaced from her home.
“We can’t afford to be eating out and basically, it’s not possible to live properly there,” she said.
“We’re paying rent, but we can’t live there. … I’ve cried a lot this week. Your home is supposed to be a place to feel comfortable and safe, but that’s not the case.”
Another resident said that he had to carry his child up and down the stairs a number of times in order to access his unit in a timely way.
“I tried calling the office to request a pick up at my floor, but it seems that after 5 p.m. no one is there to answer the phone,” he told CP24.com.
The tenant, who works from home but was able to go in to the office on Monday, said his family also lost all of the contents of their fridge and freezer.
A fourth tenant, who also asked to remain nameless for similar reasons, said the last three days have been tough and said it felt like he was living in a blackout.
“It’s absolutely freezing cold inside my apartment and you can’t stand in the (shower) water for more than one minute,” he said on Tuesday afternoon.
All of the tenants who spoke with CP24.com expressed frustration that the landlord was not providing them with enough information about what was going on, nor clear details about when the issue would be resolved. They say updates were not posted in the buildings and instead management used an on-site PA system to disseminate news as well as some email communication.
Alessia Di Geso, the director of finance for the complex’s owners, Creccal Investments Ltd., said their team has been “actively managing the situation” and that they’ve had “all hands on deck, 24/7” since Sunday evening to get the power back on.
“We’re doing everything within our power to rectify this and we’re cautiously optimistic that everything will be okay,” she said late Tuesday afternoon.
“We’re hoping the power will be restored tonight. We’re going to try to fire up the system around 7 p.m.”
Di Geso went on to say that everyone in the building is “happy, healthy, and safe.”