Elderly neighbour of collapsed house staying in trailer

Rubble in basement of collapsed 245 Brookdale Ave.
RUBBLE REMAINS: Wreckage is strewn in the basement of house at 245 Brookdale Ave. that collapsed two weeks earlier, killing 19-year-old construction worker Ryan Pearce during September renovations.

Two weeks after a house under renovations collapsed on Brookdale Avenue in North Toronto, killing a construction worker, a next-door neighbour remains displaced, living in a trailer behind his home.

Michael Mikulka can’t go back into the Bedford Park house he’s called home since 1957 because of questions about its structural integrity, he said. Part of the house next door came down against one of his walls.

“I just want to go home,” he said, looking over his backyard from outside the gate.

Mikulka’s daughter Linda said her 95-year-old father chose to stay in the trailer, declining an insurance company’s offer of putting him up in a hotel, while the Labour Ministry and City of Toronto finish their investigations.

“He didn’t want to leave the property,” she said. “It’s not a big sob story that that’s where he’s living. That’s where he wants to be.”

Linda Mikulka said her brother, whose name is also Michael, has arranged through an insurance company to have a private inspection done.

The house at 245 Brookdale Ave. collapsed on Sept. 9 while undergoing renovations, trapping four workers. Three managed to get out or were extracted by Toronto Fire personnel, but 19-year-old Ryan Pearce of Scarborough was killed.

A makeshift memorial for Ryan Pearce.
IN MEMORY: A makeshift memorial for Ryan Pearce, who was killed on the job when the house at 245 Brookdale Ave. collapsed.

A memorial for Pearce — including a photo of him and his girlfriend, flowers, and a bottle of Diet Coke with his name on it — now sits at the base of a tree on the lawn of the home.

Mikulka says while he waits for the Labour Ministry and other workers to finish their jobs, his biggest problem is the trailer has no storage. His belongings are all in the home and he has to buy food every day instead of being able to go grocery shopping.