Helping (Near) Centenarian Stay Warm

By Ron Fanfair, Toronto Police Service Published: 11:47 a.m. January 7, 2014

A Toronto woman, who lives alone, will celebrate her 100th birthday on April 18 with two city cops who helped her stay warm when her heat shut down over the cold snap.

Two men in separate pictures
Consts. Dwayne Stamplecoskie and David Huang

Consts. Dwayne Stamplecoskie and David Huang extended the lunch invitation to the soon-to-be centenarian shortly after she returned home on Jan. 6, after spending the weekend at the Delta Toronto East Hotel courtesy of police and Emergency Medical Services staff.

The 41 Division officers, who helped the elderly woman find a place to stay after her furnace was broken, plan to take her to Mandarin Restaurant, just across the street from their station.

“Lunch is on us for your special day,” Huang told the woman, after helping her settle back into her home.

The woman, who has no living relatives, accepted the kind gesture.

“Without these officers, I don’t know what I would have done,” said the woman, who wished to remain anonymous. “They are wonderful and I hope to see them again.”

When Steve Moroz, of Frew Petroleum Petro Partners, showed up at the woman’s residence on Jan. 3 to repair the furnace, he found out that the job could not be completed the same day.

“She was without power after the ice storm hit and, when it came back on, a pipe burst and the water went into the furnace and damaged it,” Moroz said. “The manufacturer of that furnace does not exist anymore and we could not get parts to fix it, so we had to put in a new one.”

Concerned about her safety because she would be left over the weekend without a furnace in the cold home, Moroz contacted Toronto Police.

“When we got there, she was sitting in the kitchen, bundled up in front of a little heater,” recalled Stamplecoskie. “She told us she’s from Manitoba and could handle the cold, but we could not leave her there in that state. We thought about sending her to a hospital, but there are a lot of sick people there and she could have fallen ill.”

The pair also couldn't find an appropriate shelter or respite area.

She’s a real sweetheart and very nice lady

The officers, along with two Toronto Emergency Medical Service crew members who showed up at the house, arranged for the woman to stay at the hotel until her furnace was fixed.

“This is a very proud woman who was not going to ask for help,” Stamplecoskie said. “Initially, she was hesitant about leaving her home, because she felt she might not be allowed to go back. Once we assured her that would not be the case, she accepted the invitation and even told us that the hotel was a nice place because she had been there before for a brunch. She figured they would take good care of her there.”

After the furnace was repaired, Stamplecoskie went to the hotel to take the woman back to her home.

In her warm home, she gave the officers a big hug before they left.

“She’s a real sweetheart and very nice lady,” Stamplecoskie said. “Me and my partner just could not walk away and leave her in the cold.”

The officers and EMS paramedics Anna Post and Shannon Willis contributed to the woman’s three-day hotel stay. Moroz also chipped in to cover expenses.

In addition, Central Ambulance Communications Centre/HQ raised $435 in less than two hours to cover any additional costs associated with being displaced and/or furnace repairs.

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