CBC News: Parents want 'truth' and 'justice' after child tragically falls from balcony in London, Ont.

Posted October 12, 2021

The parents of one-year-old Inayah, the child who tragically fell from an apartment balcony last weekend, say they want "truth" and "justice."

"We're just waiting for the investigation report to be completed so we would actually know what exactly went wrong because I believe they're saying that all codes were met and everything was good," said Inayah's father. 

CBC News is withholding the identity of the parents because they don't want to be known to the public, for fear of being retraumatized.

The apartment balcony where their daughter fell currently has two large gaps on either side between the wall and the glass handrail.

Following the incident, the city posted a safety notice at the front of the building stating "there are balcony guardrails that have openings greater than 100 mm," which exceeds the Ontario building code.

"I just want the truth to come out," Inayah's mother said. "I just want to have more peace … A closure is what we are looking for."

"I just want justice for Inayah," she said.

'Unlucky' apartment

"We were unlucky to have this apartment because it seems it was just this apartment which has such a huge gap," Inayah's mother explained. 

CBC News had spoken to other residents in the building who said the gaps in their units weren't a concern, although it is unclear whether there are other balconies in the building with similar gaps.

Inayah's family moved into the unit on April 1 and say they were told nobody had lived in the unit since 2016, but they weren't sure why. They'd used a barbecue to cover one of the gaps and a chair for the other. They didn't complain about the gaps to management. Her father explained that they just felt excited to have found such a big apartment close to work and their friends. 

More proactive inspections

Medallion Corporation, which owns and operates the building, said in a media release that an occupancy permit was issued by City inspectors for the 400 Lyle Street and that they'd met all the building codes despite the gap in the balcony. 

Jo-Dee Phoenix with tenant advocacy group ACORN, believes Medallion is "throwing the city under the bus."

"Medallion has been around the block a few times," Phoenix said the CBC News. "They know what the safety specs are, and we know that real estate investment companies will cut costs wherever they can, and in this case, their profits over people cost a child their life."

Phoenix also believes the City of London should be more proactive in their inspections to avoid future deaths or harm. 

"If there were building audits in place that were proactive rather than reactive, we may have avoided a death of a tiny little angel."

CBC News asked whether building inspectors check every balcony when inspecting a building, and whether they only inspect a building if a tenant complains. The City of London said they wouldn't comment due to the ongoing investigation.

Remembering Inayah

Inayah's father wants her to be remembered as "happy, pretty and mischievous."

"She never used to shy away from strangers," her mother added. "She used to always raise a hand and say 'hi.' And she knew when she had to say 'bye.' I had taught her to say 'bye-bye, take care.'" 

"But we would love everyone to remember her as a very cheerful girl and a girl who loved to blabber and explore," she said. "She loved to explore everything."

 

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Article by James Chaarani for CBC News

 

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