NEWS

Richard Porter, displaced by Kensington Market fire, has heart attack

12/02/2014 09:59 EST | Updated 02/01/2015 05:59 EST
Richard Porter, who lost all of his possessions in a devastating Kensington Market fire, fears he may have suffered a heart attack in the wake of the blaze.

Porter, who at 69 has dealt with heart issues in the past, hospitalized himself at Toronto Western late Monday.

"Last night, as I was laying in bed in the hotel, there was just a little quivering in my heart," he told CBC Toronto, adding that he believes it’s the stress of the situation that brought on the troubles.

Porter, who rented the apartment on Oxford Street with his partner, Sheila, for the last 30 years, lost almost everything in the blaze.

Above material possessions, he said the loss of his five cats — "They’re my kids, you know?" he said — in the fire haunts him most.

"In their last minutes, their saviour wasn't there for them," he said. "I saved my life and Sheila's."

Porter did not have insurance.

Among those who have come to Porter’s aid are the firefighters who eventually extinguished the fire.

Several firefighters arranged for Porter’s stay at a hotel, and later this week they’ll present him with a small amount of cash to get him back on his feet.

Ed Kennedy, president of the Toronto Firefighters Association, said it’s something firefighters have done for a long time.

"It’s just how firefighters are," Kennedy said.

Porter said he’s thankful for the help, but he “just can’t” bring himself to ask for too much more assistance.

He said he plans to stay with friends for the next little while, until he can find a new place somewhere outside of Kensington Market, where rent is too expensive now.

The Ontario Fire Marshal is still investigating what caused the fire.

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