Ontario Fire Marshal takes over investigation into fatal Brampton blaze – CP24 Toronto’s Breaking News
Codi Wilson, CP24.com
Published Monday, June 9, 2014 7:44AM EDT
Last Updated Monday, June 9, 2014 8:04PM EDT
The cause of a fire that claimed the life of a 10-year-old boy in Brampton Sunday has not yet been determined.
Acting Division Chief Gary Jarrett told reporters Monday afternoon that the Ontario Fire Marshal’s office has now taken over the investigation into the massive blaze, which occurred at a townhouse complex near Kennedy Road South and Queen Street East early Sunday morning.
“There are a lot of unanswered questions,” Jarrett said.
“I can tell you that the roof is under examination. Why did the fire spread the way it did through this facility and … displace the entire building?”
Officials believe the fire broke out in the unit where the 10-year-old was staying for a sleepover, just down the street from his own home.
The blaze quickly spread to other units in the complex and the boy was reported missing after everyone else had escaped.
His body was found as they extinguished hotspots and did a sweep through the gutted complex.
Jarrett said the housing complex is at least several decades old but he was not sure of the exact age of the building.
“The townhomes today under the building code are required to have fire separations every so many units to stop this kind of thing from happening,” he said.
“This building fell under previous legislation that dates back several decades.”
Brampton Fire conducted inspections of the building last year and Jarrett said every single unit had working smoke alarms.
“We need to be thorough. Was this a criminal event? Is this a fire code issue? That is what is being examined,” he said.
“We need to answer questions to the deceased family.”
Group raises money for funeral
More than $15,000 has been raised through a trust fund to help pay for a funeral for the victim, who has been identified as 10-year-old Nicolas Gabriel.
“100 per cent of what we raise will first of all go to help Nicolas’ family with their funeral expenses,” said Ted Brown, executive director of Regeneration Outreach Community.
Brown estimates the funeral will cost between $10,000 to $15,000 and any additional money raised will go to help residents rebuild, he said.
Boy’s father mourns loss with emotional Facebook post:
“Why did you leave us? I miss you so much,” Shane Gabriel said in a post on the social media site Sunday.
“We had plans! We were supposed to go see Godzilla for your birthday! I was supposed to help you with your project!”
Gabriel went on to say he was proud of his son and reminisced about the boy’s love of playing on his PS3.
“I just want to wake up from this nightmare; all I can see your smiling face in my head,” he wrote.
“God how I miss you.”
Nearly 100 displaced
Officials estimate that nearly 100 people lost their home in the fire Sunday and several community groups and organizations, including the Canadian Red Cross and the Salvation Army, have stepped in to offer assistance.
Many of the residents, Brown said, did not have insurance.
“Many people here simply cannot afford that content insurance,” he said.
Residents of the 18 homes affected by the fire have not been permitted to return due to concerns about the structural integrity of the building.
“Nobody is going to be allowed to go back in there until it is 100 per cent guaranteed it is safe to do so,” Const. Lily Fitzpatrick said Monday.
“The people who have lost their homes; Peel Human Services, the Salvation Army, and the Red Cross are making sure that everything they need is being provided for them.”