No one hurt after shooter fires into packed Corydon nightclub

Partygoers at a popular Corydon Avenue bar were unhurt, but shaken up after a shooter fired into the establishment early Saturday morning.

Witnesses told Global News a man was being escorted out of Bar Italia by security staff shortly after midnight, and repeatedly tried to get back inside.

As bouncers held their ground, witnesses then reported seeing the man on his phone.

Moments later, roughly a half-dozen shots rang out in the busy nightclub, shattering a front window.

“It was so loud in there,” witness Shawn Eisler told 680 CJOB. “Then everyone hit the deck and tried to find some cover.”

“I had no idea what was going on until I saw (my friend) running towards me with sheer panic on his face.”

“(The friend) told us they were shooting in our direction.”

Fellow bar-goer Carson Ransom was standing beside Eisler when the attack took place.

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“I was at the bar getting drinks, and all of a sudden (our friend) came up to us and said there were shots fired,” he explained.

“We went to the VLT area and hid for a minute,” Ransom recalled. “Everyone was hiding behind tables, and I looked around the corner and there were lights.”

The scene outside popular Winnipeg nightclub Bar Italia on Saturday morning, hours after a shooter opened fire through the front entrance. No one was hurt.

The scene outside popular Winnipeg nightclub Bar Italia on Saturday morning, hours after a shooter opened fire through the front entrance. No one was hurt.

William Ludwick / Global News

Ransom says more than a dozen Winnipeg Police Service officers were on scene just a couple of minutes after the shooting.

By that time, the alleged assailant had made his way inside the bar.

“(Officers) wrestled him to the ground and cuffed him.”

Eisler said the quick response from officers helped reassure the shocked crowd.

“They kept us there for probably 45 minutes, taking down everyone’s information before letting us go.”

Police have yet to answer nearly a dozen calls from Global News, asking for confirmation of the arrest.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Missing Whitby women presumed dead, family member charged with murder: police

WATCH ABOVE: (Oct. 19) Family growing more worried over missing mother and daughter in Whitby

Two Whitby women who went missing earlier this month are now presumed dead and a family member has been charged with murder, Durham Regional Police say.

In a statement released on Oct. 15, officers said they were called to a home on Scepter Place, near Garrard Road and Dryden Boulevard, just before 3 p.m. on Oct. 14.

It said police received a call to “check on the well-being” of the two women, identified as 58-year-old Ava Burton and 85-year-old Tatilda Noble, but when officers arrived they couldn’t find the women.

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Police said at the time that officers found evidence at the scene which indicated “suspicious circumstances” surrounding their disappearance, but what was found isn’t clear.

Family of the two women had asked police to do a wellness check after not hearing from them. Police said earlier this week that the women were last heard from around Oct. 11.

In a news release issued Saturday, Oct. 23, police said the two women have still not been found, but it’s believed they are dead.

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Police appealing for tips after ‘suspicious disappearance’ of mother and daughter from Whitby

Thirty-year-old Whitby resident Joshua Burton has been charged with two counts of second-degree murder in connection with the deaths of his mother and grandmother.

Police said the investigation is ongoing and they are searching for clues that could help them locate the victims’ remains.

Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 1-888-579-1520 ext. 5411 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-8477.

— With files from Nick Westoll and Frazer Snowdon

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

6 people taken to hospital after vehicle crashes into TTC bus in North York

Six people were taken to hospital, one with life-threatening injuries, after a vehicle crashed into a TTC bus in North York late Friday, officials say.

Emergency crews were called to the area of Wilson Avenue and Champlain Boulevard, east of Allen Road, around 11:20 p.m.

A Toronto police spokesperson told Global News a black Mercedes was being driven west on Wilson Avenue at a high speed when the driver lost control, entered the eastbound lanes and crashed into a TTC bus.

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The spokesperson said an occupant of the Mercedes was taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries and the bus driver suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

Toronto paramedics told Global News a total of six people were taken to hospital, including a male victim around 18 years of age who was in critical condition and a second male patient who suffered serious injuries.

Four others were taken to local hospitals with minor injuries.

Police said the investigation is ongoing. There is no word on what charges, if any, may be laid.

Roads were closed in the area but have since reopened.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Ontario reports fewer than 400 COVID-19 cases, 6 more deaths

WATCH ABOVE: Restaurant and gym owners say they are relieved that that provincial government will be lifting capacity limits starting on Monday. Erica Vella has their reaction.

Ontario reported 373 COVID-19 cases on Saturday, bringing the total number of cases in the province to 597,145.

Health Minister Christine Elliott said of the new cases, 264 involve people who are not fully vaccinated or have an unknown vaccination status, while 109 are fully vaccinated individuals.

For comparison, last Saturday 486 cases were reported, meaning the seven-day average dropped. It stands at 389, down from Friday when it was 406. Last Saturday, it was 441.

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Six additional deaths were also announced on Oct. 23, bringing the provincial virus-related death toll to 9,845.

A total of 583,931 coronavirus cases are considered resolved, which is up by 419.

More than 27,300 additional tests were completed. Ontario has now administered a total of 18,751,965 tests and 13,410 remain under investigation.

The province indicated that the positivity rate for the last day was 1.5 per cent, which up slightly from Friday’s report, when it was 1.4 per cent, and down from last Saturday’s report, when it was 1.7 per cent.

Provincial figures showed there are 136 people in intensive care due to COVID-19 (down by 13), 96 of whom are on a ventilator (up by two).

Elliott said of those in intensive care, 120 patients are not fully vaccinated or have an unknown vaccination status, while 16 are fully vaccinated.

As of 8 p.m. Friday, 22,365,905 COVID-19 vaccine doses had been administered in Ontario, marking an increase of 27,243. Of the latest shots administered, 9,041 were first doses and 18,202 were second doses.

In Ontario, 87.8 per cent of people aged 12-plus have received at least one vaccine dose and more than 83.7 per cent are fully vaccinated.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

North Korea slams U.S. for 'reckless' support of Taiwan as tensions with China grow

WATCH: Taiwan president vows to uphold 'democracy and freedom'

North Korea on Saturday accused the Biden administration of raising military tensions with China through its “reckless” backing of Taiwan, and said that the growing U.S. military presence in the region constitutes a potential threat to the North.

In comments carried by state media, North Korea Vice Foreign Minister Pak Myong Ho criticized the United States for sending warships through the Taiwan Strait and providing Taiwan, a self-ruled island that China claims as part of its territory, with upgraded weapons systems and military training.

The United States’ “indiscreet meddling” in issues regarding Taiwan, which the North sees as entirely a Chinese internal affair, threatens to touch off a “delicate situation on the Korean Peninsula.”

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Pak’s statement came a day after President Joe Biden told a CNN town hall event that the United States was committed to coming to Taiwan’s defence if it comes under attack from China. While that seemed to blur Washington’s long-held stance of maintaining “strategic ambiguity” on whether it would intervene if China were to attack Taiwan, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Biden had no intent to convey a change in policy.

China and Taiwan split amid civil war in 1949, and although it maintains formal diplomatic relations only with Beijing, the U.S. remains committed by law to ensure Taiwan can defend itself from outside threats.

North Korea has increasingly criticized the broader U.S. security role in the Indo-Pacific amid an intensifying competition with China, Pyongyang’s major ally and economic lifeline. Last month, the North threatened unspecified countermeasures following the Biden administration’s decision to provide nuclear-powered submarines to Australia.

“It is a well-known fact that the U.S. troops and its military bases in (South Korea) are in use to put pressure on China and that the huge forces of the U.S. and its satellite states, which are being concentrated near Taiwan, can be committed to a military operation targeting the DPRK at any time,” Pak said, using an abbreviation of the North’s formal name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

He said the increasing military presence of U.S.-led “hostile forces” in the region was based on a “lame assertion” that North Korea and China would cause trouble in Taiwan and the Korean Peninsula.

“This reality proves that the U.S. is in its bid to stifle our country and China, both socialist countries, in order to hold on to its supremacy,” Pak said.

Nuclear negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang have stalled for more than two years over the issue of relaxing crippling U.S.-led sanctions against North Korea in return for steps by the North to wind down its nuclear weapons program.

Pyongyang sees the possession of nuclear weapons as the ultimate guarantor of the survival of the Kim dynasty that has run the country with an iron fist since the 1940s.

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Ending a monthslong lull in September, North Korea has been ramping up its missile tests while making conditional peace offers to Seoul, reviving a pattern of pressuring South Korea to try to get what it wants from the United States.

Sung Kim, Biden’s special envoy for North Korea, arrived in South Korea on Saturday for talks with allies on reviving negotiations with the North. Kim told reporters he expected “productive” discussions with South Korean officials during their meeting on Sunday, before leaving the airport without taking further questions.

The Biden administration’s pullout from Afghanistan underscored a broader shift in U.S. focus away from counterterrorism and so-called rogue states like North Korea and Iran. That is putting the focus on confronting a near-peer adversary in China, and part of that apparent strategy appear to be offering the North a resumption of talks without preconditions.

But the North has so far rejected the idea of open-ended talks, saying that Washington must abandon its “hostile policy,” a term North Korea mainly refers to sanctions and U.S.-South Korea joint military exercises.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

2 men dead after separate shootings in Toronto, police say

Toronto police say two men are dead after separate shootings in the city overnight.

Police said emergency crews were first called shortly after 12:30 a.m. to the area of Jane Street and Yorkwoods Gate, south of Finch Avenue West, for reports of a man who was found lying on the ground, unresponsive and not breathing.

A police spokesperson told Global News paramedics discovered that he had suffered gunshot wounds and attempted life-saving measures, but he died at the scene.

Police tape is seen in the area of Jane Street and Yorkwoods Gate on Saturday.

Police tape is seen in the area of Jane Street and Yorkwoods Gate on Saturday.

Gord Edick / Global News

The spokesperson said they were not aware of having received any reports of a shooting in the area prior to the man being found.

Shell casings were located and officers canvassed the area looking for witnesses.

At 2:20 a.m., police were called to the second incident, just east of Eglinton Avenue and Trethewey Drive.

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Police said officers received reports of a shooting and once they arrived at the scene, found a 36-year-old man in an apartment unit who had been shot.

He died at the scene.

Suspect information hasn’t been released in relation to either incident.

Anyone with information is asked to contact police or Crime Stoppers anonymously.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Unvaccinated Austrians could face COVID-19 lockdown, chancellor says

Unvaccinated people in Austria could face new lockdown restrictions if coronavirus case numbers continue to rise, Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg said Friday night.

The news came after a Friday evening meeting between Schallenberg and state-level leaders to discuss their response to rapidly increasing case numbers.

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“The pandemic is not yet in the rearview mirror,” Schallenberg said. “We are about to stumble into a pandemic of the unvaccinated.”

Schallenberg announced that if the number of COVID patients in intensive-care units reaches 500, or 25 percent of the country’s total ICU capacity, entrance into businesses such as restaurants and hotels will be limited to those who are vaccinated or recovered from the virus.

If the number reaches 600, or one-third of total ICU capacity, the government plans to impose restrictions on unvaccinated people. In this case, they would only be allowed to leave their homes for specific reasons.

Currently, the number of COVID patients in ICUs stands at 220.

In the past week, Austria has reported 20,408 new cases of the virus, according to health authorities, bringing the 7-day average to 228.5 per 100,000 inhabitants. A week earlier, that figure was at 152.5 per 100,000 inhabitants.

Although Austria’s government has encouraged citizens to get vaccinated, the effort has slowed in recent months. Some 65.4% of the total population has received one dose of the vaccine, and 62.2% are fully vaccinated.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

Man charged with 2nd-degree murder in death of Prabhjot Singh Katri

WATCH: Police in Truro, N.S. have now arrested two men in the murder of Prabhjot Singh Katri, a Sikh man who was found dead outside an apartment building in September.

A young man has been charged with second-degree murder in the death of Prabhjot Singh Katri, who was killed outside an apartment building in Truro, N.S., in the early morning hours of Sept. 5.

Officers in Truro responded to a call that day at 2:07 a.m. about a male who had suffered serious injuries. Singh Katri was rushed to the Colchester East Hants Health Center, where he succumbed to his injuries.

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On Saturday, the Truro Police Service announced in a release that they have charged 20-year-old Cameron James Prosper of Pictou Landing First Nation with his murder.

Prosper was arrested on Friday but was not initially identified because he had not yet been charged. He has been remanded in custody.

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Prosper has had a previous conviction of assault causing bodily harm in relation to an offence on April 10, 2020, according to the Public Prosecution Service. He was recently given a 15-day sentence for that charge.

He is also facing charges of aggravated assault, assault with a weapon causing bodily harm and possession of a weapon in relation to a stabbing in Pictou Landing First Nation on June 12. He is scheduled for a two-day trial in September 2022 for those charges.

Another man arrested, third man sought

The Truro Police Service also arrested a second man in relation to Singh Katri’s death.

In a news conference on Friday, police chief Dave MacNeil said 21-year-old Dylan Robert MacDonald of Valley, Colchester County, was taken into custody on Thursday. He has been charged with accessory after the fact to murder, dangerous operation of a motor vehicle, and flight from police.

MacDonald is scheduled for a bail hearing on Oct. 26 and an election and/or plea on Oct. 27, according to a spokesperson for the courts.

MacNeil said MacDonald was initially arrested shortly after the homicide, and “our investigation has proceeded to the point where we now have charges against him.”

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Police are also searching for a third man, 22-year-old Marcus Denny of Pictou Landing First Nation, who is also charged with accessory to murder after the fact. There is a warrant issued for his arrest.

The police chief said there were indications of who was responsible early on, and they were able to make these arrests after a detailed and complex investigation.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Saudi Arabia pledges to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2060

WATCH: How Canada's net-zero emissions plan compares globally

One of the world’s largest oil producers, Saudi Arabia, announced Saturday it aims to reach “net zero” greenhouse gas emissions by 2060, joining more than 100 countries in a global effort to try and curb man-made climate change.

Although the kingdom will aim to reduce emissions within its own borders, there is no indication Saudi Arabia will slow down investments in oil and gas or relinquish control of energy markets by moving away from the production of fossil fuels. Energy exports form the backbone of Saudi Arabia’s economy, despite efforts to diversify revenue as the world increasingly looks to transition away from reliance on fossil fuels. The country is forecast to make $150 billion in revenue this year alone from oil.

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The announcement, made by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in scripted remarks at the start of the kingdom’s first-ever Saudi Green Initiative Forum, was timed to make a splash before the start of the global COP26 climate conference being held in Glasgow, Scotland. The prince vowed Saudi Arabia will plant 450 million trees and rehabilitate huge swaths of degregated lands by 2030, reducing 200 million tons of carbon emissions and attempting to turn the landlocked city of Riyadh into a more sustainable capital.

The kingdom joins the ranks of Russia and China on their stated net-zero target date of 2060. The United States and the European Union have aimed for 2050.

In making the announcement, analysts say the kingdom ensures its continued seat at the table in global climate change talks. Saudi Arabia has pushed back against those who say fossil fuels must be urgently phased out, warning that a premature switch could lead to price volatility and shortages. Recently leaked documents show how the kingdom and other nations are lobbying behind the scenes ahead of the COP26 summit to change language around emissions.

In transitioning domestically, the kingdom could also take the oil and gas that it subsidizes locally and allocate it as a more lucrative export to China and India, where demand is expected to grow in the coming years.

“The kingdom’s economic growth is driven by export of its energy sources. It’s no state secret,” Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said at the forum in Riyadh.

Saudi Arabia says it will reach net-zero through a so-called “Carbon Circular Economy” approach, which advocates “reduce, reuse, recycle and remove.” It is an unpopular strategy among climate change activists because it touts still unreliable carbon capture and storage technologies rather than honing in on the phasing out of fossil fuels.

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The announcement provided few details on how the kingdom will cut its emissions in the short- and medium term, including when it will peak its emissions. Experts say sharp cuts are needed worldwide as soon as possible to ensure the world has a chance of capping global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) as agreed in the 2015 Paris accord.

The kingdom _ home to roughly 17% of proven petroleum reserves _ supplies some 10% of global oil demand. As OPEC’s heavyweight, Saudi Arabia holds tremendous influence over energy markets and can pressure other producers to fall in line, as seen last year when the kingdom triggered a price war that successfully got Russia to curb its production amid a slowdown in demand from the pandemic.

Saudi Arabia said the transition to net zero carbon emissions “will be delivered in a manner that preserves the kingdom’s leading role in enhancing the security and stability of global energy markets.”

Gulf oil producers argue against the rapid phasing out of fossil fuels by saying that a hurried shift would hurt low-income nations and populations that lack access to basic energy. Saudi Arabia also advocates for language that refers to greenhouse gases, a basket that includes more than just fossil fuels.

“We believe that carbon capture, utilization and storage, direct air capture, hydrogen and low carbon fuel are the things that will develop the necessary ingredients to really make sure this effort will be inclusive,” Prince Abdulaziz said of the global energy transition.

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Earlier this month, the United Arab Emirates _ another major Gulf Arab energy producer _ announced it too would join the “net zero” club of nations by 2050. The UAE, home to the region’s first nuclear power plant, did not announce specifics on how it will reach this target.

Leaked documents, first reported by the BBC, show how Saudi Arabia and other countries, including Australia, Brazil and Japan, are apparently trying to water down an upcoming U.N. science panel report on global warming before the COP26 summit. Greenpeace, which obtained the leaked documents, said Saudi Arabia is enabling nations to continue burning fossil fuels by pushing carbon capture technology. The group says these “as-yet unproven technologies” would allow nations to emit more greenhouse gases on the optimistic assumption that they could draw them out of the atmosphere later.

Fossil fuels, such as crude oil, natural gas and coal, currently make the bulk of global energy consumption. Just 10% of electricity is generated by solar power and wind.

On Saturday, Prince Abdulaziz said every nation’s approach to cut emissions will look different.

“No one should be too factitious about what tool in the kit that everybody would have,” he said. “But if your tools in your kit and mine delivers emissions reductions, that’s the ask and that’s the objective,” he said.

Britain’s Prince Charles was among those participating in the Riyadh forum. In virtual remarks, he pointed to how the Middle East’s temperatures are also rising, threatening the region’s habitability.

President Joe Biden’s climate envoy, John Kerry, is expected in Riyadh on Sunday and Monday, where he will meet with officials and take part in the three-day forum.

___ Associated Press writer Frank Jordans in Berlin contributed to this report.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

An inside look at how Ontario's Office of the Fire Marshal investigators probe blazes, explosions

WATCH ABOVE: Manny Garcia, a training specialist with Ontario’s Office of the Fire Marshal, explains what investigators look for after they arrive at a scene.

When a major fire or explosion happens, firefighters, police, paramedics, emergency volunteers and journalists often rush to the scene in response.

But when it comes to carrying out the complex, scientific investigations needed during the immediate aftermath to get to the bottom of how and why such a devastating event happened, it falls to a highly trained team of experts with Ontario’s Office of the Fire Marshal (OFM) — a provincial agency founded in 1916.

“It’s our job to determine the origin and cause of that fire and if there’s a way we can prevent a similar occurrence we want to do that … we want to take proactive steps,” Steve Wilson, the assistant deputy fire marshal with the OFM, told Global News while also reflecting on the emotional load the office’s responsibilities can sometimes have on its personnel.

“Our investigators, engineers and specialists, we ask them to do some of the most difficult investigations on behalf of the province so it’s important we have the support for our folks in place to help them manage (a psychotherapist is on staff and OFM relies on a peer-support network) … they’re dealing with devastation and death all the time.

“There’s a huge weight put on their shoulders because they want to bring closure to everyone who has been impacted by that incident.”

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The OFM gets called in to probe fires where there are fatalities, serious injuries, or suspected arsons. The agency is also tasked with investigating explosions, including ones by clandestine drug labs. When there is significant loss experienced ($500,000 or more in damage, or more than twice the average residential sale price in the community), that will also trigger an investigation.

In 2020, the agency looked into approximately 650 fires and explosions and at a full staffing complement there are 26 primary investigators, plus other scientists and experts who will take charge in those investigations. Under the Fire Prevention and Protection Act, investigators have authority to enter property to conduct probes and they’ll work with police if it’s determined to be criminal. The staff also act as experts in criminal court proceedings as well.

During the summer, Global News spent time with a team of new OFM recruits to get a better understanding of the office and the role it plays.

As part of the team’s training, they attended a series of live exercises at Seneca College’s Newnham campus where instructors and students of the pre-service firefighter and fire service training programs, under carefully controlled conditions, simulated a variety of burns in singular rooms such as a cigarette burning on a couch (a scenario that took several minutes for flames to develop), arson, and one on lighters.

Manny Garcia, a training specialist with the OFM, said the biggest cause of fires and fatalities in the province has to do with cooking and not paying attention. He said smoking in bed and people smoking while near oxygen tanks are also to blame.

When it comes to the biggest misconception about fire investigations, which typically involves crews initially being on scene for two to five days before conducting further analysis for weeks after, Garcia said it is widely believed that it’s almost impossible to figure out what happened.

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“That’s just not true. It’s unbelievable what actually survives the fire … for smouldering fires started by a cigarette, we can actually find the actual cigarette as long as the suppression system doesn’t knock it away,” he said.

It isn’t until a fire is extinguished that OFM will arrive at a site and when crews do so, their first priority is to make sure the buildings are structurally sound and that the utilities are disconnected before they even enter. When safe, Garcia said the key question is determining the origin of the fire.

“Is this a fire that happened on the outside and spread inward or is it an interior fire that then spread outward? So we do that by performing a walk around the building, examining the fire patterns, seeing what the available fuel is — and that’s another reason why we say to people make sure that you keep the exterior house neat and tidy,” he said.

“Say the fire is on the interior of the building, then we commence our interior analysis so that we can then determine what’s our room of origin and where that fire started and then once we’ve determined the room of origin, we try to determine the area of origin within that room and see what ignition sources were there.

“If you can’t find the area of origin, you can’t determine the cause of the fire.”

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Garcia said inside a building, investigators start with the areas least consumed by fire before moving to the ones most heavily damaged, adding the level of damage does not necessarily indicate where the fire started (for instance higher levels of oxygen could cause greater damage).

After a room or area is isolated, Garcia said investigators will divide the space into quarters — sometimes pulling the contents out of the area after thoroughly photographing it, putting elements through sifters, and sometimes reconstructing the space as it was first found. He said firefighters will sometimes be called back to spray down the floor, adding a clean surface can reveal more clues.

“What am I looking at? Am I looking at electrical? Was there an extension cord that was being used improperly? Was there a power bar that really wasn’t up to standards? Were they smoking in that area? Was there a wastebasket? Were there? Were there candles? These are the things that you look for,” he said, reviewing things investigators might ask.

“In order for something to be consumed, it has to go from a solid state when it’s heated, it becomes a vapor state and then that’s actually what burns. So at some point in time, there will be some of that residue left behind if it doesn’t change entirely and that’s what we’re looking at, what’s left over, what’s being consumed, what hasn’t happened yet.

As for explosions, Garcia said it too comes down to determining the area of origin.

“You start looking at, was it natural gas? Was it propane? Was there a fire and then an explosion or was there an explosion and then a fire? And you can tell just by, for instance, if you find the shattered glass and the glass has no soot on it, you pretty well know you’re looking at that explosion first as opposed to fire and then an explosion,” he explained.

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With respect to fire safety and protection in Ontario, local fire services across Ontario also have a role to play. Many municipal fire services have sections dealing specifically with Ontario Fire Code compliance.

Larry Cocco, deputy fire chief of community risk reduction for Toronto Fire Services (TFS) — the largest service in Canada — said TFS typically investigates 200 to 250 fires. Like the OFM, TFS staff are tasked with understanding the cause of those fires with an eye toward prevention.

“If we don’t know our fire risk, how can we determine our fire safety concerns in the community?” Cocco said.

Using local data, Cocco said TFS fire prevention officers can put in place inspection programs based on risk and common trends. For example, while responding to a fire at an apartment building in 2016, the service experienced a “major failure” of the standpipe (the source of water for firefighters to connect to).

“It really challenged our suppression,” he recalled, adding when they started probing the issue they found there was nothing in the Ontario Fire Code to mandate testing of standpipes in older buildings.

Cocco said the service audited 100 older buildings randomly after that initial issue and found a “remarkable failure rate.” He said that probe eventually resulted in a change to the code and as a result, there are now mandatory five-year tests for those structures.

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While Toronto has seen major incidents such as the Sunrise Propane explosion in 2008 and the Toronto Badminton and Racquet Club fire in 2017, both prompting an extensive deployment of resources to put out, the fires that heavily impact people are on a much more personal level.

“The size of the fire does not impact the process. We follow the exact same process regardless of the incident,” Cocco said.

He noted the three most common ignition sources for fires in Toronto are unattended cooking, improper disposal of smoking materials, and electrical fires (appliances that have been modified or used improperly).

Officials reiterated the need to maintain working smoke alarms inside properties.

“If you don’t have a working smoke alarm, what’s going to wake you up is probably you choking on smoke that you’re not going to be able to escape. You basically have got two, maybe three minutes to get out, and there’s no way you’re getting everything on a smoke alarm, not at three o’clock in the morning,” Garcia said.

“Not only must you have a working smoke alarm, but you also need a fire exit plan and it needs to be practiced, especially with kids.”

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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