Police rescue 2 men from water-filled elevator during Toronto flooding

Heavy rain battered Toronto Tuesday evening, washing out roadways, causing heavy flooding in the downtown core and trapping two men in an elevator that was rapidly filling with water.

People rescued from cars, elevator after deluge swamps city

Toronto police's marine unit rescued people whose cars became submerged in water. (Mr. Dawson/Twitter)

Heavy rain battered Toronto Tuesday evening, washing out roadways, causing heavy flooding in the downtown core and trapping two men in an elevator that was rapidly filling with water.

Environment Canada had issued a special weather statement for the city earlier in the evening, saying between 50 and 100 millimetres of rain was expected in some locations, particularly near the lakeshore.

The federal agency said more than 64 millimetres of rain had fallen at Billy Bishop Airport in just two hours.

'Only one foot of air space left'

The two men who had to be rescued from an elevator were stuck in a basement in the city's north end. 

Police media relations officer Katrina Arrogante said water had almost filled the elevator before the men were rescued by officers who had to swim down to the basement to get them out.

"The water level has rose to six feet and there was only one foot of air space left for the two males to breathe," she said, adding that the men were able to keep their heads above water by standing on handrails inside the elevator.

"The two officers answering the call then found a crowbar and swam into the basement location of the commercial building, pried open the elevator and rescued the two males that were stuck inside," Arrogante told The Canadian Press.

She said one man suffered a hand injury but did not require hospitalization and neither of the responding officers was injured.

Arrogante said the initial call came in at 10:52 p.m. ET and police were on the scene quickly.

Toronto Blue Jays fans get stuck in the Rogers Centre as the entrance to the parking garage floods with torrential rain. (Fred Thornhill/Canadian Press)

"The officers responded at 10:58, so all within six minutes we were there and able to rescue the two men," she said.

"It's actually quite an amazing story and we're just happy everything turned out in a positive manner."

Rain fills underpasses

The rain filled several underpasses, including one in north-end Toronto near Keele Street and Wilson Avenue that left three cars completely submerged.

Four cars were also trapped by rising water at a downtown underpass at Lower Simcoe Street and Bremner Boulevard, and the police marine unit was called in to rescue the occupants. There were no injuries reported at either incident. 

Weather-related calls also flooded emergency lines with less serious calls, leading police to ask that callers use 911 only for emergencies.

The deluge caused problems at Toronto city hall. A staffer tweeted that the roof outside Mayor John Tory's office was leaking so badly that staff ran out of recycling bins and garbage cans to contain the water.

Meanwhile, a power supply issue from Hydro One caused customers in the area of Steeles Avenue south to Sheppard Avenue, and from Islington Avenue to Dufferin Street, to lose power. 

Thousands lost power

Hydro One confirmed there was an outage at their Finch Transmission Station and that they were making repairs to damaged equipment, allowing Toronto Hydro to restore power to customers.

Toronto Hydro said that 16,000 customers in North York were without power at the height of the storm but have since had their service restored.  The utility company also said it dispatched crews to other areas of the city to investigate other weather-related outages.

Other issues caused by the rain:

  • Metrolinx said that the rain caused UP Express service to shut down because of flooding near Weston Station.
  • Flooding near Downsview held up Barrie GO Transit service.
  • The city closed the Bay West Teamway at Union Station.

Environment Canada's special weather statement was lifted just before 11:30 p.m. as the heaviest showers moved out over Lake Ontario.

With files from CBC News

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.