UPDATE: Board spokesman Ryan Bird said on 18 March that Trustee Atkinson’s condition has remained stable, though she remains on life support.

Ward 7 Parkdale-High Park Toronto District School Board (TDSB) trustee Irene Atkinson was admitted to St. Joseph’s Hospital in critical condition after a housefire yesterday evening around 7:00PM.

The house fire began in her kitchen area, and a neighbour alerted authorities. Trustee Atkinson was taken to the hospital after being treated for smoke inhalation and put on life support.

After over forty years of community service, Trustee Atkinson was recently recognized for 35 years of public service with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal.

Her voice is well known across the TDSB as “a strong advocate for the community”, says Shaun Chen, a fellow Trustee. To the students at Marc Garneau C.I., Trustee Atkinson is remembered as the trustee who put forth the motion to further discuss relocation of the TOPS program in June 2012.

Social media feeds of Torontonian students, TDSB officials, and even Mayor Rob Ford have expressed well wishes for Trustee Atkinson. School board Spokesman Ryan Bird said in an e-mail that “On behalf of all Trustees, staff and students at the TDSB, our thoughts are with Irene and her family at this difficult time.”