April 13, 2018 12:20 am
Updated: April 13, 2018 12:24 am

Boy recovering after hot asphalt leaks through Toronto school’s roof, burns arms and neck

WATCH ABOVE: The family of a Grade 3 student who was burned by leaking asphalt in his school's gymnasium is asking why the TDSB had roof repairs while the children were in the building. Caryn Lieberman reports.


The mother of an eight-year-old boy injured after hot asphalt fell from the school gym’s roof and landed on his arms and neck says the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) needs to change how repairs are made.

“I was hurt. I couldn’t process the information. I didn’t know how to feel,” Nyoka Colman, who was out of the country at the time of the incident, told Global News on Thursday from her son Azeriah Jeremiah’s hospital room.

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“To this minute … I don’t understand how the school board could let something like this happen.”

Emergency crews were called to Derrydown Public School near Finch Avenue West and Keele Street in North York at around noon on Monday after hot asphalt fell into the gym from the roof.

A TDSB spokesperson told Global News at the time that crews were replacing the roof while a Grade 3 class was in the gym.

READ MORE: Students injured after hot asphalt leaks through gym roof at Toronto elementary school

In addition to Jeremiah’s injuries, another boy was hit in the neck with hot asphalt. Some of the material also landed on a girl’s shirt, but she wasn’t injured.

“It felt gross when it touched me,” Jeremiah told Global News.

“I was just shocked.”

He went and told his teacher what happened and the ambulance was called. Days later, Jeremiah is still being treated at the Hospital for Sick Children in downtown Toronto.

The TDSB said in a statement on Thursday that staff are still investigating Monday’s incident.

“Roof work at the school was stopped immediately to allow both TDSB staff and the Ministry of Labour to investigate,” the statement said.

READ MORE: TDSB needs $3.4 billion to fix schools, 200 facilities cited ‘critical’

“We have not yet determined what caused the asphalt leak, but are working to do so. In the meantime, we are hoping for a speedy recovery for the two students who were injured.”

Krista Wylie, a spokesperson with the grassroots campaign Fix Our Schools, called on the Ontario government to provide increased funding for school repairs.

“I really would look to the provincial government to step up and we need to prioritize these buildings,” she said.

“Two million Ontario children spend their days in these buildings and if we don’t want to continue to see accidents like this, then we really do need to fix our schools.”

READ MORE: Ontario to spend $784M on new school construction and repairs

Meanwhile, Colman said construction should be done in the summer, during the evenings and nights or on weekends.

“This is something that has to be planned out. There’s two parties involved. This is a major issue. My son wasn’t safe. Proper precautions weren’t taken,” she said.

— With files from Caryn Lieberman

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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