Aug 09, 2013
By Jane Brown
Irene Atkinson is a survivor! The Toronto District School Board trustee was on life support five months ago after a two alarm fire engulfed her High Park home and left her lying unconscious inside the front door with no sign of life. But the 77 year old Atkinson has fought her way back through intense treatment to emerge as her old feisty self. She spent a month at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute after her release from hospital in May. She says apparently she was dead when firefighters found her. She says she wasn’t breathing and they had to give her CPR to bring her back. Atkinson says she remembers nothing about the March 16th fire that broke out in the kitchen of the 3 storey house she has lived in for almost 50 years. Irene Atkinson’s trademark gravelly voice has changed because of weeks of having tubing in her throat, but it’s expected to return to normal within a year as her vocal cords heal. It’s the same for her sense of taste and smell, which she has lost for the moment. The Ontario Fire Marshal’s office is expected to release a report in the coming weeks on the cause of the fire in her home.