London, Ont., building collapse survivor on his way to walking again

Jake Hurl in January 2021, shortly after he returned home from a nearly month-long hospital stay following a partial building collapse. Supplied by Jake Hurl

Nearly five months after the fatal building collapse at 555 Teeple Terrace in London, Ont., Jacob Hurl says he’s able to walk short distances on crutches.

“I didn’t think I was going to be able to ever walk again. But the doctors did a damn good job fixing me,” he told Global News on Monday.

Read more: London, Ont. building-collapse survivor recalls hours trapped in rubble, hopeful for recovery

John Martens, 21, and Henry Harder, 26, died as a result of the Dec. 11, 2020 collapse at the site of Nest on Wonderland, which was under construction.

Four others were injured, including Hurl.

Since returning home from a nearly month-long hospital stay, he’s progressed from a wheelchair to a walker and now to crutches.

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He sees a physical therapist twice a week and has started seeing a therapist weekly.

“I am very happy that I made it this far. And I mean, the physical therapist has been doing a great job. I just started talking to a therapist. I’ve only done two sessions, but that’s been helping a little bit.”

Click to play video: '2 dead, 4 in hospital following building collapse in southwest London, Ont.' 2 dead, 4 in hospital following building collapse in southwest London, Ont.
2 dead, 4 in hospital following building collapse in southwest London, Ont – Dec 12, 2020

While Hurl has been making tremendous progress, he says it’s still been a difficult journey.

“Even me getting dressed in the morning, it’s just like I look down on my legs and they’re burned and got a massive skin graft on my left thigh, skin grafts on my right side, skin taken from my right thigh. I have two three-inch screws in my hip and a great big steel rod through the middle of my femur,” he says.

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“You just think about it constantly like it’s a never ending, I wouldn’t say ‘hell,’ but it never ends, basically.”

Read more: Workers allowed back on site of fatal London, Ont., partial building collapse

Hurl says he doesn’t want the public to forget about what happened.

“(Construction workers) want to know when they go to work, is this building going to stay up too? Are these building materials going to be put up right and they’re actually made right? I think about that all the time.”

The Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development tells Global News that its investigation is ongoing but that the requirement to secure the scene was removed April 12.

“Once the investigation is completed, ministry staff will review the investigation report. If a prosecution for violations of the Occupational Health and Safety Act is warranted, charges will be laid within one year of the date of the offence,” a spokesperson said.

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