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Scaffolding collapse sends seven to hospital

April 19, 2016, Toronto - Seven people including a baby narrowly averted serious injuries on Monday afternoon as scaffolding came tumbling down to the streets of one of Toronto's most bustling neighbourhoods.

April 19, 2016
By The Canadian Press

Police flocked to a construction site in the city’s Forest Hill neighbourhood around 2:30 p.m. after the accident at a building currently being turned into a new public transit stop.

Police, firefighters and paramedics teamed up to rescue seven people believed to have been trapped in the rubble. Toronto police Const. Allyson Douglas-Cook said those people were taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

“From what we know, everyone has been rescued from the building.”

Douglas-Cook said a baby was among those who had the closest call.

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“Some of the material fell on the stroller,” she said, adding the baby carriage likely saved the infant’s life. “Fortunately the baby was not injured seriously. The injuries are quite minor.”

Douglas-Cook said all of the injured were close to or inside the building at the time of the collapse, but did not say whether they were working at the site or simply pedestrians passing by.

The accident took place at the sight of a Chinese restaurant currently being demolished to make way for a station along a new route crossing Eglinton Ave, an east-west street that spans the bulk of the city.

John Jensen, chief capital officer at government transit co-ordinating agency Metrolinx, said the company is fully co-operating as police try to assess the cause of the collapse.

“Our primary focus is on the well-being of the injured, and our hearts and thoughts are out for them,” he said.

Hours after the collapse, the neighbourhood full of local businesses was still teaming with investigators probing the causes and consequences of the accident.

Douglas-Cook said police dogs were still on sight to verify that no one was still trapped inside.

Lita Quinto, owner of grocery store Pampanguena, said swarms of first responders could be seen blanketing the scene from at least two blocks from the accident site.

“Everybody’s there. All the police people, the firefighters and paramedics were covering the scene,” she said. “Some are still at the back, because the back alley is where the demolition was happening.”

Police said streets in the area are expected to be closed for several hours as they continue their investigation.

They are joined in their probe by the provincial Ministry of Labour.