Family of toddler killed by falling AC unit reacts after TCHC misses replacement program deadline
TORONTO -- The Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC) has missed its own deadline to replace the same faulty window air conditioner that fell out of an apartment window and killed a toddler in November.
Two-year-old Crystal Mirogho was killed by an air conditioner that police said fell from the eighth floor of a Toronto Community Housing building on Lawrence Ave. East.
On Dec. 2 TCHC said work was underway to remove window air conditioners not contained within a balcony and the work would be completed before Dec. 25.
The family’s lawyer said in a statement to CTV News Toronto that TCHC's failure to comply with its own self-imposed deadline is “very sad and disappointing”.
“Although we had wished that it did not take a tragedy like the death of our daughter Crystal to bring about this change, we welcomed the new policy,” Slavko Ristich said, on behalf of the family.
‘Fewer than 200’ units still to be replaced
The TCHC said that thousands of units have already been replaced since the incident, but 200 still remain.
“Within three weeks of the tragic incident on November 11, 2019, TCHC launched our window air conditioner removal program,” TCHC Strategic Communications Director Bruce Malloch said in an email to CTV News Toronto.
“To date, 7,000 window air conditioners not contained within a balcony have been removed from our buildings. At present, there are fewer than 200 window air conditioners not contained within a balcony still installed in TCHC buildings. TCHC is actively engaged in removing all of them within the next two weeks.”
Malloch said in about 120 cases, repairs are required on the window when the air conditioner is removed. In about 40 cases, tenants need year-round air conditioning for health reasons.
The delay replacing window air conditioners comes after an initial warning about them in a 2007 report.
“The window air conditioners also represent a safety concern if not properly installed, due to their weight and hanging position,” the report said.
On Wednesday CTV News Toronto asked TCHC why the units were not replaced more than a decade after the warning.
“We cannot speak for past decisions,” Malloch said.
TCHC said it will exchange removed air conditioners for a portable, floor-mounted unit at no cost to tenants and in time for the June-to-September season.