Ryerson hopefuls killed in Toronto fire

From left to right: Alysia Graham, Katie Charron, Jordan Boyer and Ethan Leal.

From left to right: Alysia Graham, Katie Charron, Jordan Boyer and Ethan Leal (Courtesy Facebook)

Two close friends whose lives were claimed by a fire were planning to apply to Ryerson but never got the chance.

Katie Charron and Alysia Graham, both 21, hoped to attend Ryerson, according to Graham’s mother, Kristi Graham.
Charron wanted to study photography while Graham was interested in creative writing.

The Toronto Star reported that Charron’s organs were donated Saturday morning at Mount Sinai Hospital and will go towards saving five lives.

Charron succumbed to her injuries the day after firefighters pulled her unconscious body from the Dovercourt Road apartment she shared with three of her friends.
Ethan Leal, 21, was the only survivor.

The roommates had been close since their high school days in their hometown of Georgetown, Ont.

“Honestly, all of their bonds was something I was always jealous of, but at the same time I was lucky enough to be a part of it,” said Rhianna Mellor, a friend of the group.

The official cause of death has been reported as smoke inhalation. The news surrounding the organ donation is gaining a lot of attention from family and friends. Charron’s father, Steve, told the Toronto Star, “It’s her legacy now. She would have loved to give someone else a second chance.”

Mellor agrees. “I think it’s amazing that her organs were donated. The second I found out that five people would benefit from it, I started crying,” said Mellor.

The family believed that things were starting to turn around for Charron after her mother died of cancer in 2011. Charron and her three friends were planning on moving into a bigger apartment soon.

“It was only the four of them that hung out for the last few months and Charron only had her dad,” said Mellor.

Charron worked as an assistant manager at Ardene to pay rent while working on her online photography portfolio.

“It was just a given that whenever any of us hung out, someone would have a camera,” said Mellor. “It was something they all automatically excelled at and were addicted to.”

“She was a wonderful, soft human being,” Steve Charron told the Toronto Star. “She taught me right from wrong. She always reminded me not to make U-turns, not to swear. She has a great sense of humour.”

Firefighters responded to the call at 1068 Dovercourt Rd. on Friday morning. The crews arrived at 3:10 a.m. and were able to extinguish most of the fire an hour later. The Ontario Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating the cause of the blaze.

Charron shared the back half of the apartment with Graham, while Jordan Boyer, 22, and Leal shared the front.

The fire is believed to have started in the middle common area that included the kitchen and living room.

Individual funeral services are being planned for later in the week and friends have taken to Facebook to mourn.

High school friend, Candance Eagles posted online, “There is no doubt that these amazing people have made an impact on so many of our lives even if it was a small amount. I hope that you are all together somewhere having the best time, smiling like we all will remember.”


(Courtesy Facebook)

  • “We used to sit on my roof for house just staring at the city while talking about everything.” – Rhianna Mellor on Alysia Graham
  • “She was so funny. She always made me laugh so hard. She was so sarcastic and had this stare that would just scream when she was annoyed but it was so cute.” – Rhianna Mellor on Katie Charron
  • “I remember talking to Jordan once and he said to me, “If I die young then I hope it inspires people to appreciate life.” – Rhianna Mellor on Jordan Boyer

This story was first published in The Ryersonian, a weekly newspaper produced by the Ryerson School of Journalism, on March 12, 2014.

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