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.”

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Child dead, hundreds left homeless after weekend Brampton townhouse fire – Globalnews.ca

TORONTO- A 10-year-old child is dead and close to a hundred are homeless after a townhouse complex in the Greater Toronto Area went up in flames early Sunday morning.

“It was a very intense fire,” said Peel Region Police Const. Lillian Fitzpatrick.

“These people had to leave in the very early morning hours with nothing but the clothes on their backs.”

The child was at the home for a sleepover, Fitzpatrick said, but his family lives in the area.

READ MORE: Community pulls together to help victims of Brampton townhouse fire

“Obviously they are completely devastated at this point,” she said of the boy’s family.

“It’s a very, very fresh wound for them. They need some time to collect themselves and deal with this horrible blow.”

Hundreds of residents had been forced to evacuate the area after a two-alarm fire broke out at a townhouse complex on Ardglen Drive in the city of in Brampton at around 3:15 a.m. Sunday morning.

WATCH: Residents react to Brampton townhouse fire

Authorities say the fire started in a single town house before quickly spreading through the roof and engulfing the entire building.

Area residents were loaded onto buses and taken to a nearby Tim Hortons. Roughly 100 have lost their homes, and as many as 300 cannot return home at this point.

Eighteen units were “profoundly damaged” in the blaze, while fire officials still have to assess the structural integrity of a number of other homes, said Fitzpatrick.

By mid morning, the fire had been knocked down, but police said it was “still active” in certain spots with smoke continuing to linger. Fire crews remained on scene.

WATCH: Fire crews have blaze under control

Those forced out of their homes were being helped by Peel Region social services and the Salvation Army. Temporary accommodation was being arranged for those who needed it.

Officials said it could still be a day or two before residents are allowed to return to homes that survived the blaze.

“It’s very difficult to say when they’ll be able to go back because for them to go back to their homes it has to be safe for them to do so,” said Fitzpatrick.

“There are going to be immediate needs and social services are going to see that they are taken care of.”

The Ontario Fire Marshal’s office, Peel police and the coroner’s office are all investigating the incident.

A trust fund has been set up for the victim’s family as well as for residents affected by the fire.

Also, a Facebook page seeking donations can be found at facebook.com/bramptonfirevictims.

With files from Jeremy Cohn/Global News in Brampton and the Canadian Press

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David Weisz

Web Coordinator

David Weisz is a digital journalist based in Toronto, Ontario. He has a strong interest in data-assisted reporting, especially when it pertains to municipal and social issues.

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