Neil Wycik evacuated as fire destroys electrical system

The Neil Wycik student co-op residence at 96 Gerrard St. E. was evacuated late last night when a fire shut down the building’s electrical network.

Firefighters were called to the 23-storey highrise used by Ryerson University students and visiting youth at about 11 p.m. on Nov. 2.

“We had the fire under control fairly quickly but we lost the building’s electrical system,” said Stephan Powell, district chief of Toronto Fire Services.

The fire apparently started in an electrical closet, which caused “quite extensive” damage to the  high rise’s electrical infrastructure, he said.

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The building was evacuated as heavy smoke spread through the building. Firefighters helped residents down the stairwells through the smoke, as the elevators were not usable.

The fire was considered a three-alarm event, which means 14 to 17 vehicles were called to the fire.  More than 60 units were dispatched.

No injuries have been reported.


Fire investigation at Neil Wycik

Staff of the province’s Technical Standards and Safety Authority have also been involved on the scene. The TSSA provides public safety services related to elevators and other electrical systems.

They are joined by investigators from Toronto Fire Services and the Office of the Fire Marshal to investigate what caused the fire.

With the electrical system destroyed, the owners have had to go through the building, under guidance of the fire department, installing manual smoke detectors to protect residents until the entire infrastructure is replaced, which could take several weeks, Powell said.

In the meantime, residents have been allowed to return to the building, but “ideally they should find another place to live” until the electrical system is fully restored, he said.