Toronto Blast, blaze leave 1,000 homeless

Baby Mikayla lost her stroller during the explosion. Project417 helped find a new one.

Baby Mikayla lost her stroller during the explosion. Project417 helped find a new one.

Explosion in hydro vault makes huge building uninhabitable – The Red Cross and the Salvation Army dispatched volunteers to prepare meals in local school’s kitchen for the dazed residents. More than 200 residents of 2 Secord Ave., in the Danforth Ave.- Main St. area spent last night on cots set up in classrooms and the gymnasium of Secord Public School.

Project417 and the Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship were able to send a team of Junior High volunteers who had been visiting from Huntley, Illinois to do community service projects. The students helped in the Salvation Army kitchen set up in the small school cafeteria and served hundreds of meals to the suddenly homeless residents. –

What a divine coincidence following the explosion: With more than a thousand people homeless instantly, they were able to take shelter in the neighboring Secord Avenue Public School. The Salvation Army and the Red Cross were able to set-up quickly to provide much needed service to the former residents. The Salvation Army’s Toronto Disaster and Emergency Relief team headed by Jeff Noel, wasted no time in providing meals, water and other essential services to the evacuees. Calls went out to the Toronto Christian community for volunteer assistance at Secord Avenue. Our Executive Director of Ekklesia Inner City Ministries – Project417, Rev. Joe Elkerton, received the call as he was heading home from church and headed straight for the disaster site. Joe is also the senior pastor at Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship. BLCF has teamed with Project417 this year to help rebuild their community and help the homeless. On Monday we had scheduled a team of volunteers on a short term mission from Springbrook Community Church in Huntley, Illinois (Chicago area) to visit Bloor Lansdowne in Toronto to help with outreach and service projects: 22 junior and senior high youth and five adult team leaders. So first thing Monday, Pastor Joe was able to take a team of willing volunteers out to the disaster site shelter to help in the Salvation Army kitchen, serving hundreds of lunches and helping prep for dinner to even more. On Tuesday the Illinois team went again, this time with Joe and Project417 Outreach worker Andy Coats. Many residents expressed their appreciation for the assistance given by our volunteers. Right place – right time!

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2 Responses

  1. […] Project417 volunteers had assisted at the Secord Ave Public School evacuation site following the explosion. Since that time residents have had to be temporarily housed in City shelters or with friends and family. They have been required to continue paying rent and now the landlord is reportedly reneging on a promise not to require the standard 60 days notice to break leases. No clear explanation has been given for the cause of the explosion – which has been overshadowed by the recent massive propane explosion in North Toronto. […]

  2. We tenants of 2 Secord Avenue would like to thank our city councillor Janet Davis who brought in the Federation of Metro Tenants’ Associations to provide us with legal advice.

    If it was not for the selfless efforts of these people from the Federation we would not have gotten most of our issues resolved nor a half months free rent for the first month of September, food vouchers from the landlord to cover all of our spoilt food and so much more.

    I urge every tenant in Toronto to sign up for a membership in this fantastic group at or you can call them at 416-413-9442. They are the only tenant organization endorsed by the city of Toronto.

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