A father says his “hero” wife crawled through steel debris to get their infant daughter out from under the rubble when scaffolding collapsed on them in midtown Toronto.
Jason Hand said he was trapped with his 6-month-old daughter and wife Emma when the material suddenly came crashing down from a transit construction site Monday afternoon.
“Emma was able to crawl under some of the steel to get Naomi out of the stroller (somehow the mangled stroller frame protected our girl from tons of steel and concrete)” he wrote on Twitter.
“She wormed her way to a hole and passed Naomi out to a stranger, before crawling out herself.”
Hand said he was pinned down next to an elderly man for some 15 minutes, suffering nerve damage. He said Emma had to get a staple in her head and that they might have scrapes and concussions “but by some miracle we are alive.”
He concluded: “We are safe and my wife is a hero.”
Authorities have credited the stroller’s frame with likely saving the tot’s life.
Seven people were taken to hospital with minor to serious injuries but no one was killed in the disaster, which temporarily halted demolition work at all Eglinton Crosstown stations.
“As a result of the incident at Forest Hill Station, and with an abundance of caution, Crosslinx temporarily suspended work at other demolition sites along the Eglinton Crosstown project,” Metrolinx, the province’s transportation agency responsible for the project, said in a statement.
Labour Minister Kevin Flynn visited the site Tuesday and said that despite the injuries the collapse “could have been a lot worse.”
An investigation is underway and “We’re going to find out who’s to blame,” he said.
Flynn said he is confident the other Crosstown sites are safe.
The collapse took place around 2:20 p.m. while a building was in the process of being demolished at the intersection of Eglinton Avenue and Bathurst Street.
Metrolinx said Monday the front wall of the building fell on the covered walkway and brought the scaffolding down with it.
It’s not clear yet if the demolition process resulted in the scaffolding collapse.
With files from David Shum