Six alarm fire at Toronto high school, residents told to evacuate
A high school in Toronto has partially collapsed, with neighbouring buildings having to be evacuated due to a raging fire broke out for the second day in a row at the building.
The fire at York Memorial Collegiate Institute, a public secondary school located at 2690 Eglinton Avenue West, is now being described as a six alarm fire.
Premier Doug Ford announced on Thursday that new scholarships would be provided in honour of the 57 Canadians who lost their lives on Ukrainian International Airlines flight 752. Ford called the leadership in Iran a “ruthless, evil regime.”
“Innocent lives got shot down by a ruthless, careless Iranian regime,” said Ford in a report by the Toronto Sun. “I want to send a message—and it may not get over there—I support the (anti-government) protesters that are out there. We believe in democracy here in Canada and we’d like to see nothing less than democracy in Iran.”
Some of the families that Ford met with expressed that they put the blame for the incident on the Iranian regime and are looking for justice.
Ford noted, “Nothing, nothing at all was more emotional than sitting down with five families and listening to their stories.”
“One gentleman told me how he lost his daughter and his granddaughter; another person lost their husband; another person lost their brother, sister and a wife and child,” he said. “It was absolutely heartbreaking.”
Ford expressed that he was happy with the way the Canadian government was able to respond to the families of the victims.
He also revealed that there will be 57 post-secondary scholarships created in Ontario to honour Canada’s victims.
The tragedy cost the lives of students in more than a dozen post-secondary schools in Ontario.
The new scholarships will be for the 2021-22 school year and the government will be distributing $10,000 for each.
The scholarships will be distributed with financial need and academic merit in mind. The schools will be working with the families of the victims to determine scholarship recipients.
Ford said, “They were smart, gifted people who had a bright future ahead of them,” and added, “In fact, 34 out of the 57 Canadians were studying — they were PhD candidates, professors, researchers, doctors.”
He also mentioned that a victim of the crash had been working on a new breast cancer drug therapy.
“We will honour their memories through these scholarships to recognize their incredible contributions to our communities,” said Ford.
The province will be distributing the scholarships to the schools that the victims were employed at or attending.
In the weeks to come, the Ministry of Colleges and Universities will be working with government, communities and schools in order to continue to develop the scholarships.
A man is facing charges after allegedly attacking young children in a kindergarten class with a curtain rod during the school’s recess.
York Police say the incident happened around 1 pm on Wednesday, when they were called to Our Lady of Good Counsel Catholic Elementary School after reports of an assault.
The man, who witnesses say was wearing a helmet on his head, was walking around the perimeter of the school with a woman before the school’s recess took place.
The attack took place after two of three kindergarten classes had already gone inside.
According to eye witness reports, the man jumped the fence and began swinging the curtain rod at teachers and students.
“School staff and a good Samaritan were able to remove the weapon from the suspect and get the students back into the school,” said Const. Laura Nicolle to CTV News Toronto.
A five-year-old boy suffered “serious injuries” after being struck by the rod, police say.
The school was placed into lockdown during the incident, as police and ambulances made their way to the premises.
The suspect is a 30-year-old man who police believe has a cognitive impairment. The man was arrested and charged with aggravated assault, assault with a weapon, weapons dangerous and common nuisance endangering life.
Investigators believe the assault was random. He is pending a bail hearing.
The Ford government has released its eligibility outline for parental support during the Ontario teacher strike.
The outline, which announces eligibility to all parents whose children are enlisted in school which will be fully closed due to strikes, will details prices for those affected.
According to the outline, all parents who meet the first set of requirements and have children in grades 1 to 7 will be eligible to receive $25 per day. Parents of those in junior or senior kindergarten will be eligible for $40 a day, and $60 per day for children under the age of six who are not enrolled in school, “but attend a school-based child care centre that is required to close on account of the strike.”
Additionally, $40 per day will be given to parents for students in junior kindergarten to grade 12 with special needs.
Tensions remain high between the Ford government and teachers unions, with all the ladder being in the position to strike later this week.
Teachers in the Ontario English Catholic system announced on Monday that they would be holding a strike for one day on Jan. 21, which would be in line with the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation, which has held rotating strikes in recent weeks.
Education Minister Stephen Lecce announced Wednesday that the measures to ensure parents have coverage would cost “up to $48 million a day” if all unions went on strike at the same time and if all parents of all eligible children were to apply.
No, Ontario isn’t about to have the next Chernobyl or Fukushima nuclear disaster.
An alarm that was sent to Ontarians’ smart phones at 7:23 a.m. Sunday morning warned residents that there was an “incident” at the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station.
“This is a Province of Ontario emergency bulletin which applies to people within ten (10) kilometres of the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station. An incident was reported at the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station . There has been NO abnormal release of radioactivity from the station and emergency staff are responding to the situation . People near the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station DO NOT need to take any protective actions at this time,” read the emergency alert.
A second message sent to Ontarians’ phones later cleared the air and the anxiety the first message caused residents, letting them know they weren’t going to be burned to death in a nuclear apocalypse.
“There is NO active nuclear situation taking place at the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station. The previous alert was issued in error. There is no danger to the public or the environment. No further action is required.”
Premier Doug Ford’s Solicitor General, Sylvia Jones, released a statement a 12:29 p.m. addressing the false alarm:
“Earlier today, an emergency alert was issued by the Province of Ontario stating there was a situation at the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station. The alert was issued in error to the public during a routine training exercise being conducted by the Provincial Emergency Operations Centre (PEOC).
“There was no incident at the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station that should have triggered public notification. Nor was there ever any danger to the public or environment.
“Emergency exercises are a critical component of ensuring preparedness for emergency management and response agencies. The PEOC conducts training exercises regularly and there was no intention to notify the public in this instance.
“The Government of Ontario sincerely apologizes for raising public concern and has begun a full investigation to determine how this error happened and will take the appropriate steps to ensure this doesn’t happen again.”
Top trends on Twitter quickly became “Pickering”, “Chernobyl” and “#everythingisfine”, with many creating memes to laugh off or mock the government-issued the false alarm.
Some residents near the Pickering nuclear plant reminded others that in case of a real emergency those living near the power station can get pills from the government.
This latest false alarm raises questions for Pelmorex, parent company of the Weather Network, its Alert Ready system (the software used to send out the mass emergency messages to Canadians’ smart phones, including Amber Alerts) and the Ontario government.