Neighbours shocked by fatal collapse

House at 245 Brookdale was undergoing renovations

The house at 245 Brookdale Ave. stood as an example of a typical North Toronto home. The two-storey, brown brick structure sat nestled on a quiet street, facing a school.

Now, the four steps that lead up to the porch are all that remain, a pile of rubble the remnants of what once was part of the Bedford Park neighbourhood.

The house was undergoing renovations, with four workers inside, when at about 2 p.m. on Tuesday it came crashing down.

One worker escaped as the collapse happened. Another was freed when Toronto Fire arrived. A third, with his leg trapped under a beam, was also freed by Toronto Fire. But a fourth worker was killed.

Toronto Fire division commander Bob O’Hallarn said in his 44 years on the job he’s seen only “about half a dozen” fatal structural collapses.

In this case, he said, the worker was in the basement near the back of the house and was found bent over forward, either on a table or a rail, with the ceiling above him lying flat on his back.

Four hours after the collapse, O’Hallarn told the Town Crier his crews would not be waiting until morning to recover the body.

“If we can get him out tonight, we will,” he said. “I don’t want to leave him overnight.”

O’Hallarn said they were waiting for a large excavation machine to remove the rubble before they could get started.

Meanwhile, neighbours who came out of their homes to view the scene from the street and from the schoolyard at John Wanless Junior Public School, which faces the home, expressed disbelief.

Peter McHugh, who has lived in the neighbourhood for 27 years, said he was “shocked” by what had happened.

“I’ve never ever in my life seen anything like this before,” he said. “Normally these houses are built so well they’ll withstand any sort of renovation.”

Another longtime area resident, Bob Jones, called the collapse “very unusual.”

“They’re putting up houses seemingly in a couple of months,” he said. “It’s very sad when people are getting killed.”

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Posted: Sep 10 2014 11:54 am
Filed in: NEWS

2 thoughts on “Neighbours shocked by fatal collapse

  • September 18, 2014 at 9:12 pm

    Shawn, I hope you can convince your editor to do a follow-up when the Ministry of Labour has reached some conclusions. As a home-owner, I’d like to know what went wrong and how such failures can be avoided. Thanks for the story!

  • September 11, 2014 at 3:50 pm

    Re: Building Inspection

    Building Inspection in Toronto inspects finished work as it relates to conforming to the building code (OBC), most of the inspectors are trained technicians not tradesmen.
    They are asked to inspect heating systems and plumbing systems are they are the first to admit the inspection is basic as they are not trained to inspect gas, oil and Electrical work.
    TSSA and ESA inspect Gas and Electrical work and both have moved to self inspection by license trades, when a non license work is performed there is not a requirement by the Building inspection Department to check that this work was done properly. When this work is reported to be non-conforming to the building Inspection nothing to little is often done. Barrie’s building inspector went as far as asking”Who do you think you are?” Did nothing so I complained to MMAH who handled it the same way (even though there was a chance of carbon dioxide poising).
    This work even on government projects are often done by workers who have basic skills at best and often work by the required license trades are done untrained workers.
    When caught the fines do not reflect the damage and cost, to us all, (typical fine <$400.00 Damage $20,000+).
    The Ministry of Labor enforces safety and does a good patrolling union job sites and major works. In the forty + years I have never seen an inspector!
    Mandatory Health and Safety Awareness Training is required to even work as background extra in the film and TV industry. If you were to check your district as to how many construction sites and how many are following the law you would find most are in violation.
    Any help you need please feel free to ask before the next manslaughter takes place.

    Thank you
    Ron Lupard ME.
    My personal qualifications listed below
    Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing Registration, HVAC, House, Building Services, Plumbing, Fire Protection
    BCIN: 28950 Designer Legal/process, Natural Resources Energy Advisor
    TSSA Certificate: 0710677, Electrician Construction and Maintenance, Trade Certificate 309D-206768

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