FACEBOOK EVENT: click here for more info
Last Friday, a fire broke out in an upper-floor apartment at 200 Wellesley Street East, a 28-storey highrise in Toronto’s St. James Town. The fire spread to other apartments, eventually engulfing several on the 23rd and 24th floors, causing extensive smoke, water and structural damage to the building. All of the building’s 1,700 or so residents were evacuated to the Wellesley Community Centre nearby.
As news of the fire hit Twitter, concerned citizens went to the scene to offer whatever help they could. I left Critical Mass with Himy Syed to head to the fire, and over the course of the night met @MarkDewdney, @jkozuch, @commoncentsmom, @aricguite, @sarahbarker, @chrisjamesdrew, and I’m sure many more who I can’t think of just now. As I may not have had a chance in the chaos, I’d like to commend all of you for coming and helping in whatever way you were able.
The displaced residents of 200 Wellesley are among the city’s most in need, including low-income families, the frail and elderly, and mentally ill. Because of the severity of the fire, they have not yet been allowed back into the building to claim belongings, medications, or beloved pets. Because of the smoke and water damage, many have lost everything, and because of the potential for structural damage, many will be homeless for an indefinite time.
Tonight, the 519 Church Street Community Centre is hosting a fundraiser for the displaced residents. If you can, please come to 519 Church Street and hear their stories, and donate cash or gift cards if you are able. See the links below for more information.
- Wellesley Fire Fundraiser on Facebook – Event page with details on tonight’s event
- WellesleyFire.ca – website for information on the fire, the relief efforts, donations and tonight’s fundraiser
- @WellesleyFireTO – Twitter account for updates from volunteer organizers
- #WellesleyFire hashtag – Twitter search for tweets related to the fire and volunteer coordination
- City of Toronto website for news releases and updates on cleanup and recovery efforts