An Ontario community is reeling after a 23-month-old boy died when he was accidentally left in a hot car outside the school where his mother taught, the mayor says.
Bancroft, Ont. Major Paul Jenkinsa close family friend who has known the family for 30 years, said Everett Smith died on Thursday despite multiple attempts to revive him by teachers and emergency crews at North Hastings High School.
Everett’s mother is a teacher at the school, Jenkins said. According to the mayor, the mother was supposed to drop her son off her at daycare on the way to work.
Jenkins said no one noticed Everett was still in the car until the end of the school day. Most of southern Ontario was under a heat warning that day, with temperatures reaching into the 30s. The maximum temperature recorded that day in Bancroft was 27.1 degrees.
Ontario Provincial Police was called to the school at 3:45 pm for a child found with no vital signs. Police said the child was transported to hospital by ambulance, but was pronounced dead shortly after.
“It is a tragic, unfathomable, accident with a child in the hot car,” Jenkins told CTV News Toronto on Monday. “There is nothing but an outpouring of sympathy. It is one of things I don’t think anyone can imagine.”
“The whole community is in shock and reeling.”
Everett was one of two children. His older brother is five years old, Jenkins said.
“They are an excellent family, her husband is a volunteer in the fire department,” Jenkins said. “Their kids are everything to them.”
Jenkins is urging the community to have “compassion” for the family, and acknowledged that Everett’s death will have “wide-spread effects.”
He said he’s calling on everyone to “support the family, and support each other.”
“It’s been very traumatic,” he said.
North Hastings High School denied a request for comment. A spokesperson for Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board said in a statement they were aware of a situation at the school, but would not comment further.
A small memorial of flowers was placed outside the high school on Monday morning.
in to Facebook post last weekthe school said they canceled their Grade 8 graduation due to an “emergency at the school.”
Bancroft is located about 100 kilometers north of Peterborough and 244 kilometers from Toronto.
The OPP said an investigation into the death, in co-operation with the Office of the Chief Coroner for Ontario, is ongoing.
The parents of Everett, Diana and Jason Smith, have launched a memorial fund for their sonin partnership with the North Hastings Children’s Services.
“This fund will be used to create opportunities for children and families to experience joy in Everett’s memory honoring his legacy,” the parents wrote.
“One look at his infectious grin and your worries would melt away. We knew his smile was meant to change the world. Tragically, Everett is no longer with us but we know that he would want to keep doing the best for his friends as he sips his milk and asks for more toppings on his toast.”