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St. James Town highrise without power, water after flood

Last Updated Jan 23, 2019 at 6:52 pm EDT

Residents of a downtown highrise are waking up in community centres, on friends’ couches, or in their dark apartments following a basement flood that left the building without water or power.

Fire officials were called to the 33-storey, privately-owned apartment building at 260 Wellesley St. E  — in St. James Town — on Tuesday afternoon.

Although an evacuation order was not issued for the building, there has been no word on when power will be restored.

Coun. Kristyn Wong-Tam, who represents the neighbourhood, said pre-emptive emergency response mobilization was put in place immediately to deal with any developments.

“Toronto Fire will be leading the response on-site for at least the next 24 hours,” she said in a statement on Tuesday.

“While they do not anticipate power will be restored within the next 48 hours, they will not be issuing an evacuation order at this time. A number of orders are being put in place to ensure the safety of residents at 260 Wellesley Street, including fire watch and check-ins to ensure residents are in good health. Toronto Fire will be assisting with these services.”

The Wellesley Community Centre was opened to serve as a warming centre for the approximately 550 residents of the building.

Officers will be conducting checks through the building to make sure any residents who chose to stay in their homes are safe.

Mayor John Tory will be meeting with the Deputy Fire Chief and Wong-Tam on Wednesday to discuss the situation.

The building is run by the same management company in charge of 650 Parliament St., where a major electrical failure caused a six-alarm fire last August. Residents in that building are still unable to go home.

However, a spokesperson for the management company said there was “no linkage between the two” incidents.

Residents at 240 Wellesley, right next door, say water to their building had been off for at least three days before the pipe burst next door. Some say cold water returned to their apartment units on Tuesday night.

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