Help Brampton Ardglen Fire Victims
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The Brampton Guardian is raising funds for victims of the fire, and has waived the campaign fees.A blaze broke out at a townhouse complex on Brampton's Ardglen Drive on Sunday, June 8, killing a 10-year-old boy and leaving about 100 homeless. More ...

A massive fire at a Brampton townhouse complex has claimed the life of a young boy, and left roughly 100 residents without a home.

Ten-year-old Nicolas Gabriel died in Sunday’s blaze, the only fatality of the two-alarm fire. Gabriel was sleeping over at the unit where the fire started. His parents and grandparents also live in the complex, but their houses were not directly affected.

Terri Chad, Gabriel’s aunt, said family members were devastated, and asked for privacy in their time of grief.

The fire broke out in the Ardglen Drive townhouse complex around 3 a.m. on Sunday, June 8, destroying 18 units. Many escaped with just the clothes on their back.

"We have families who have lost absolutely everything; their medications, ID, clothes, furniture, everything. Speaking to many residents, they did not have tenants' insurance," said Brampton Mayor Susan Fennell.

"To see these families out here dealing with this, and having the loss of another child here is just devastating, is just a nightmare for this community," she said.

"This is another tragedy on Ardglen," Fennell said, noting the still unsolved shooting death of 9-year-old Kesean Williams who was killed in the complex last year.

Jamie Holtom arrived at the scene of the fatal townhouse fire just before 6 a.m. Sunday.

The minister at North Bramalea United Church said the street was lined with fire trucks and some 300 displaced residents were in the parking lot of a nearby plaza, located around the corner from the blaze.

With some wearing just housecoats and pyjamas, evacuees were gathering around the Journey Neighbourhood Centre.

Holtom, who serves as chair for the youth outreach facility, opened the doors for those looking for shelter or just a place to use the washroom.

As the modest parking lot and surrounding area turned into a makeshift refugee centre with emergency personnel, Red Cross and Salvation Army volunteers handed out food and clothing.

Wrapped up in a white bathrobe, Anne-Marie Lavigne told The Guardian she was awakened at 4 a.m. by her roommate, telling her that they had to leave immediately.

"I looked out the window and flames were just shooting from the building about 20 feet in the air. The roof was on fire, the whole length of the building was on fire.

"The heat was so unbearable, I couldn't even look out the window."

Peel police say only one other person was injured in the fire: a woman who fell and hurt her wrist during the evacuation.

Brampton Deputy Fire Chief Michael Clark said the fire appears to have started in the kitchen area of the same unit the 10-year-old's body was discovered.

The Ontario Fire Marshal has been called in. Clarke said the OMF is doing a joint investigation with the Brampton Fire and Emergency Services' arson team and Peel police.

Bags of clothing, toys, furniture and other items have been pouring in since word of the tragedy broke, and no more is needed.

Cash donations and gift cards are all that is needed now to help the family of Nicolas Gabriel and the residents of Ardglen Drive who were devastated by Sunday’s fire.

Donations will be directed to Regeneration for the Nicolas/Ardglen Trust.

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