It'll be months before Gosford residents can return home after fire, Mayor John Tory says

It will be at least a few months before people can return home after a deadly fire at a 15-storey apartment building on Gosford Boulevard, according to Toronto Mayor John Tory.

Meanwhile, city funding for emergency shelter support ends on Friday and displaced residents are panicking.

"We need somewhere to live," said Kayonne Saunders, who has lived in the building for more than 11 years. 

"We need consistency in our life. My daughter cries every night because she doesn't have a room. She cries every night."

Keith Burgess/CBC

It's been over a week since the five-alarm fire killed one person, injured six others, and displaced around 700 residents at the building located near Jane Street and Steeles Avenue West.

Around 60 people have been living in a city-funded emergency shelter at York University since then.

Mayor Tory paid a visit to the shelter to meet with residents and take questions.

"We've been told it's going to be months before the building is fixed entirely," he said after the meeting.

But with the looming deadline for city funding, residents have many questions.

"It's almost like it's a mental thing that you have to prepare yourself," said Aeshat Al-Oufy, who is five-and-a-half months pregnant.

Al-Oufy has lived in the building for around nine years and she came to the meeting seeking answers.

"How long do we have to be in this position and what do we do from here onwards?"

'It all boils down to safety'

The fire started on the eighth floor and spread as far as the 16th floor, causing structural issues on the side the building, said Tory.

A couple of floors were badly damaged, including some units that were completely burned out, he said.

He also said there was damage to the elevators.

"It all boils down to safety," Tory said.

But he says the burden should fall on the landlord, and that the city will take a supporting role.

"This is the responsibility of the landlord, people who own the buildings," he said.

"I'm not blaming them for the fire but I am saying that they have to take the responsibility."

Paul Smith/CBC

For now, the city is focusing on working with the property management to refund rent to those who have paid and arranging for residents to get their belongings.

But some tenants are worried about the long term cost of being displaced.

Saunders said she's struggling, even though she has insurance, saying the coverage would only keep her afloat in a hotel for two weeks. 

"We're only covered $4,000 for expenses. Other than that, that's it," she said.

Saunders is asking those in the neighbourhood who can afford to open up their doors to do so, especially as the winter months roll in.

"Help us, please ... There's so many people in there that need help." Saunders said.

Tory also called on the community to come to the tenants' aid, asking anybody who has rental accommodations that could be made available to the families to reach out to his office.