Woman lit on fire in ‘random’ attack on Toronto bus; man arrested, police say

A woman in her 20s is in hospital with critical injuries after being lit on fire on a Toronto bus in what police say was a “random” attack. 

A 35-year-old man has been arrested with charges pending, police say.

The woman remains in hospital with life-altering injuries, most of which are second and third-degree burns, media relations officer Toronto police Const. Alex Li told reporters outside Kipling station, where the incident took place.

“It is cause for concern, especially as we’ve stated this is a random attack,” Li said.

Toronto police were called to the Kipling Avenue and Dundas Street West area around 12:30 p.m. for reports of a woman assaulted. Police say a man poured a liquid substance on the woman and ignited it, causing a fire.

The woman was rushed to Sunnybrook Hospital. There’s no word on her current condition.

It’s unknown what motivated the attack, but Li says there was some sort of interaction between the man and woman before it happened. Police continue to investigate.

String of recent attacks at Toronto subway stations

Friday’s incident comes on the heels of at least two other notable attacks at Toronto subway stations. In April, international student Kartik Vasudev was killed in a shooting outside Sherbourne subway station. That same month, a 39-year-old narrowly escaped being hit by a train after she was pushed onto the tracks from a subway platform at Bloor-Yonge subway station.

Then, late last month, a man was robbed and beaten outside Dundas subway station. Christian Garcia told CBC News he wanted to see more security and staff at TTC stops. 

Rick Leary, chief executive officer of the Toronto Transit Commission, says the agency is “shocked by today’s attack.”

“Our thoughts are with the victim for a full recovery,” Leary said in a statement. “I know incidents like this are concerning for our customers — and I share that concern.”

Leary went on to say the TTC moves “hundreds of millions of customers every year without incident, but we cannot and do not take that for granted.”

The TTC has several safety measures in place including special constables who patrol the system, cameras and emergency alarms in all stations and vehicles as well as the SafeTTC app to report suspicious incidents, Leary said.

The agency is also recruiting new special constables and modernizing stations to add more cameras and have more staff visible to deter crime. 

The union representing Toronto transit workers also issued a statement saying it was “horrified” by the incident, and thanked the transit staff and riders who rushed to the woman’s aid.

Subway service was suspended from Kipling to Islington stations Friday afternoon for the investigation.

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