An occupant of a homeless encampment was discovered dead yesterday morning when firefighters responded to a fire under the Glen Road bridge near South Drive.
The City of Toronto reported the death in a press release yesterday.
Toronto Fire Services responded to a fire at the encampment before 8:30 a.m. on May 1 and found one occupant dead, the release said.
Toronto police and the Ontario fire marshal’s office are joining the fire department in investigating the cause of the fire.
“The City extends its deepest condolences to the friends and family of the deceased individual,” the press release read.
The bridge on Glen Road crosses the Park Drive Reservation Ravine and Yellow Creek, connecting north and south parts of Rosedale.
Police have blocked off the bridge to vehicular and pedestrian traffic while the structure is being examined by engineers to ensure it is safe, said officers guarding the bridge.
The city called the fire fatality the seventh in a homeless encampment in Toronto since 2010 and the first since 2018.
It’s the second such fire in the area in four months, as a fire broke out in a homeless camp under the Sherbourne Street bridge at Bloor Street East in January. No injuries were reported from that fire.
The identity of the Glen Road fire victim has not been released.
Toronto Fire Chief Matthew Pegg expressed condolences to the deceased’s family and friends in a tweet yesterday.
On behalf of all of us at @Toronto_Fire, I extend my sincere condolences to the family, friends and all those impacted by this morning’s fatal encampment fire. The investigation into the origin, cause and circumstances of the fire is underway.
— Matthew Pegg (@ChiefPeggTFS) May 1, 2020
During the pandemic crisis in Toronto, the city has been monitoring encampment sites and removing dangerous materials, such as propane tanks, according to the city press release.
“While there has been a moratorium on clearing encampments, the City’s Streets to Homes outreach teams have also continually been out, checking on people living outside and offering services, such as housing options,” the release read.
The city announced a new program on April 28 to house people living outdoors in 125 units in two midtown apartment buildings, as an interim step before more permanent housing can be found. So far, 36 people have moved into units, according to the release.
Encampments are to be cleared after individuals living there are offered housing.