Constable Sandra Gillman couldn’t shake the image of a Scarborough family who lost all their belongings to fire January 4.
The mid-morning blaze gutted their two-bedroom apartment, leaving the family devastated and helpless.
Gillman was among the first officers on the scene at the residence near Ellesmere Rd. and Neilson Ave.
“As I was walking back to my squad car after leaving the scene, I started thinking what I could do to help this family,” she said.
As a member of a Facebook group in Brooklin, where she and her family reside, Gillman reached out to other members asking for donations for the family.
“Within minutes of the posting, people were reaching out to me, saying they had clothes and household items to donate,” said Gillman. “Later that evening, I went to about 15 homes and collected garbage bags full of items. People also came to my home to drop off cash and gift cards.”
Gillman delivered the items to the Ransome family on January 5 and 6.
“We are so overwhelmed by the response of Toronto police who stepped forward and were able to get these things for us from donations,” said Maria Ransome. “To lose all our belongings is like a nightmare. I keep waking up and just can’t believe what has happened. We are grateful that our two boys, who were at home when the fire started, are safe and to know that there are so many generous and kind people out there who care about others.”
A volunteer firefighter in his native Trinidad and Tobago before migrating to Canada in 1988, Mark Ransome was full of praise for emergency responders who came to help them, initially, and followed up to make sure they were okay.
“I have a much deeper appreciation for the work that firefighters and police officers do and, judging by what some of the 43 Division officers have done for us, it makes me think that I should have been a police officer. Our family is very appreciative for all the support we have received in these difficult times in the last few days.”
Constable Mike Robertson, the officer in charge of the incident, said he’s proud of what Gillam did for the family.
“She’s a super person and I am not surprised that she has gone above and beyond the call of duty to ensure this family get back on their feet,” he said.