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Newsstand: December 24, 2013

It may not be the gift of the magi, but here's what is in the news: A whole lot of people may not have power for Christmas, an injured firefighter, the story of six NICU babies at Sunnybrook during the hospital's blackout, storm-related insurance claims 101, and three people have fallen to their deaths at at a Toronto Community Housing Corporation high-rise within six months.

matt newsstand bikelane

So here’s where we’re at with the ice storm aftermath. As of late Monday evening, Toronto Hydro was reporting that crews had restored power to at least 100,000 customers, which still leaves approximately 192,000 homes without electricity in the GTA. It is still a distinct possibility that some of these customers will be without power until after Christmas Day, even as hydro workers from the surrounding areas have been called in to assist with restoring power. In case you were wondering, Mayor Rob Ford has still not declared a state of emergency, because “as you can see, things are improving.” His words. Not mine.

A firefighter sustained injuries in a fall that occurred while responding to a home fire located on Kennedy Road, just south of Malta Street on Monday night. While it’s not clear if the home was affected by the ice storm yet, Toronto Fire Services has been inundated with calls since this weekend relating to attempts of DIY home-heating without any power. Another Monday night incident saw firefighters respond to a call at a home where people were attempting to run a generator inside their home, resulting in a dangerous spike in carbon monoxide levels. Rule of thumb. Don’t ever do that, because the consequences could be fatal.

The National Post writes about six babies on ventilators who are unable to breathe on their own at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre’s neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), who were sent to three nearby hospitals after the ice storm knocked power out at Sunnybrook from approximately 4 a.m. on Sunday, until late Monday afternoon. It was the longest power outage in recent history according to hospital administrators, and even with five diesel-powered generators working at full tilt, NICU staff didn’t want to take any chances with the high-risk patients. It is a fascinating glimpse at what it takes to keep one of the busiest hospitals in the city running in the middle of such challenging conditions.

Also in the wake of the storm, it’s safe to say that more than a few people in the city will be spending some quality time with their insurance companies to file damage claims. A representative for the Insurance Bureau of Canada says that taking photos of damage is advisable in aiding with claims, and that people should also take in-depth inventories of damage, as well as take all possible steps to reduce any further damage to property. Also, because no insurance company likes to make anything easy, claims for home and auto damage will likely have to be filed separately. Be sure to also check that your auto insurance covers damage caused by falling trees and the like, since collision-only plans will not include this. It’s fun being an adult, isn’t it?

Finally, on Monday night, a person died after falling from a Toronto Community Housing Corporation high-rise on Wellesley Street East. Toronto Police confirmed that a person fell from a 22nd-floor balcony, making it the third time in six months that a fatality from a fall has happened at the public housing building. Cliff Martin, a tenant representative for the building, blames the incidents on mental health problems and poverty within the area.


  • Steveinto

    Why be surprised Rob Ford has not declared a state of emergency. If he did that it would be Norm Kellys job to carry it through. Rob Ford has always favoured his image as the saviour of Tornto over the needs of its citizens. SO what if a miilion people have no heat, he gets to have his picture taken and do news conferences.

    • dsmithhfx

      He’s punishing Scarborough for making him run for mayor again.