650 Parliament St. residents to start moving back into Toronto highrise after electrical fire

Residents are now allowed to start moving back into a Toronto highrise building after an electrical fire forced hundreds of residents out of their apartments more than a year and a half ago.

A six-alarm fire broke out at 650 Parliament St., just south of Bloor Street East in the St. James Town neighbourhood, on Aug. 21, 2018.

The fire caused significant damage to the electrical system and about 1,500 residents were displaced as the building needed major repairs. The Ontario fire marshal determined the cause of the fire was a “catastrophic electrical failure” within the building’s system.

According to the Wellesley Parliament Square website, people will be able to move back in — two floors at a time — beginning with residents on the top floors.

Those on the penthouse and 22nd floors will move in first on March 2 and will have one week to move in. Afterwards, the 21st and 20th floors will have one week to move in on March 9, and so on until all the floors are completed.

All residents will be moved in over an 11-week period with the last scheduled move-in dates for the ground and second-floor residents from May 11 to May 17.

The move-in protocol also said each resident will each be assigned a three-hour window to move in all their belongings along with their own assigned elevator. Residents can then move in smaller items after the time period as they will have full access to their unit.

In August of 2019, the management company said about $60 million has been spent on repairs for the building.

At the time of the fire, Toronto fire Chief Matthew Pegg said more than 100 firefighters were dispatched to the scene. Due to the loss of electricity, firefighters were forced to climb flights of stairs with 75 to 100 pounds of gear on their backs.

Pegg said only two people were taken to hospital by paramedics for minor smoke-related injuries. No one else was seriously injured in the fire.

Tenants of 650 Parliament have had their move-in dates pushed back multiple times over the last year and a half.

After the cause of the fire was revealed, fire investigator Chris ter Stege said a newer electrical system would likely not have resulted in a fire.

Ter Stege added that the investigation was unable to determine where exactly the fire began.


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