'Carnage on the sidewalk': Early first responder describes scene of Toronto van attack
Two days after a deadly van attack in Toronto claimed the lives of 10 people, one of the first responders to arrive at the scene fought back tears as he described the chaos.
On Monday afternoon, a rental van climbed onto the sidewalk and ran into dozens of pedestrians along Yonge Street in northern Toronto, killing 10 and injuring another 13. The suspect, Alek Minassian, was arrested at the scene.
In separate interviews with CTV News Channel and CP24, Bill Perivolaris, a special constable with the Toronto Transit Commission, said he and his partner -- a new recruit -- were some of the first responders to the scene.
They were finalizing paperwork for an unrelated matter at a nearby subway station when an alert came in from a bus where people could be heard in the background “yelling and screaming.” The pair then quickly rushed to the scene.
“We (saw) all the carnage on the sidewalk, we immediately started assisting (and) taking vital signs from various people on the ground,” Perivolaris said. “I could see all the way down the street, almost down to Sheppard (Ave.) where lights and sirens were coming and I realized that this was a devastating situation.”
The partners split up and helped several people in need of medical assistance until additional paramedics arrived. When it looked like all those in need of help were being taken care of, Perivolaris then worked to cordon off the area and began diverting traffic.
Through the ordeal, Perivolaris said it was his “instincts and training” that kicked-in and it wasn’t until the day had ended before the emotion of what he had witnessed set in.
“After a 15-hour shift, that’s when I (digressed) and started realizing the tragedy that had happened here,” he said with tears in his eyes.
Similar to several first responders on the scene Monday, Perivolaris denies any claims that he is a hero.
“I don’t think I’m a hero at all, I don’t want that title,” he said. “We’re sworn to help the citizens of Toronto and that’s all I did.”
As for a Perivolaris’ partner, he hasn’t seen her since the attack as she has been battling an illness, but the two have spoken over the phone.
“She seems to be doing fine,” he said. “The TTC obviously has a supportive network of counsellors that will come in…we’ll offer her all that support.”