June 9, 2014 5:43 pm

Community pulls together to help victims of Brampton townhouse fire

Watch above: Firefighters continue to investigate fire that left hundreds homeless. Jennifer Palisoc reports. 

TORONTO – A trust fund has been set up to offer financial assistance to the victims of a massive townhouse fire in Brampton which resulted in the death of a 10-year-old boy and left close to 100 people homeless.

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A charity named Regeneration Outreach Community has set up a website where people can donate money online or via mail.

“100 per cent of the funds will go back to the community,” organizer Ted Brown said Monday, with the money going to help pay for funeral costs as well as belongings and items destroyed in the fire.

Nicolas Gabriel was identified by Peel police as the child who was killed in the two-alarm fire on Ardglen Drive that started around 3:15 a.m. Sunday.

Brampton Acting Division Chief Gary Jarrett told reporters an autopsy will be performed to determine the exact cause of death.

Hundreds of residents have since been displaced and are not allowed to return to their homes due to structural concerns.

“There were 18 units with a common roof area,” said Acting Division Chief Jarrett. “This is an existing building that dates back several decades. This building is all rentals, renting from the property owner.”

Peel police spokesperson Constable Lily Fitzpartick told reporters Monday the fire likely started in the kitchen of one of the units and spread through the roof.

Due to the excessive damage, authorities say some of the townhouses may be unstable.

“No one will be allowed to come back into the units until it is 100 per cent safe to do so,” said Cst. Fitzpatrick.

There’s no indication when residents will be allowed to return.

Chief Jarrett said there were smoke alarms in the hallways connected to a central system in the building.

However, he wasn’t sure if fire barriers separating the townhouses were present as required by law.

“Keep in mind this is an existing building that falls under previous legislation that dates back several decades, so that’s why I can’t answer that question,” Chief Jarrett said.

“If it was built today I can tell you exactly what the code of requirements are. But because it’s not grandfathered, I need to see what exactly the status of this building was.”

The fire that started early Sunday was knocked down by mid morning but several crews remain on scene Monday to monitor any hot spots.

Those forced out of their homes were helped by Peel Region social services and the Salvation Army. Temporary accommodations were also arranged for those in need.

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

With files from David Weisz and Jeremy Cohn

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