City investigating after toddler in Toronto killed by falling air conditioner

TORONTO — The death of a two-year-old girl who was hit by a falling air conditioner has prompted an investigation by the City of Toronto.

The child died in hospital after she was hit around 3:30 p.m. Monday outside an east-end apartment building, police said Tuesday.

The building is owned by the city and part of Toronto Community Housing, which launched an investigation to find out how a window air conditioning unit tumbled from an eighth-floor suite.

“This is a tragic situation,” said community housing spokesman Bruce Malloch.

While the city’s probe ramps up, police have completed their preliminary investigation, said Const. Caroline de Kloet.

“From the interviews that investigators have done, they’ve come to the conclusion that there won’t be any criminal charges,” she said.

Malloch said the organization has a program that encourages tenants to swap out window air-conditioning units for floor models, free of charge.

“It’s a safety issue,” Malloch said. “A floor model will not fall out of a window and (they) are also more energy efficient and that has a safety component as well — not to overload the wires.”

The organization offered that exchange program in the same building in the summer of 2018, he said.

“Our approach to air conditioners is we recognize they can have a serious safety risk if they are not properly installed,” he said.

Malloch said under the terms of their lease agreement, tenants must ask for permission from the landlord in order to install an air conditioner in their unit.

The units must also be installed by a recognized professional to meet safety regulations, according to Toronto Community Housing’s website. The tenant also must provide proof of proper installation.

Mayor John Tory weighed in Tuesday, saying community housing will do a “thorough investigation.”

“My thoughts are with the family involved and the people in that building,” Tory told reporters Tuesday. ”I’m sure it is traumatizing for them.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 12, 2019.

Liam Casey, The Canadian Press

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