Screengrab from TTC maintenance workers union video on YouTube.
"The children where his joy," said a man who declined to give his name to QMI Agency, but said he was fallen Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) maintenance worker Peter Pavlovski's uncle.
"We are just devastated."
Pavlovski, 49, died after he was struck by an engineering train just a few hundred metres north of Yorkdale subway station. Another worker suffered minor head injuries while the driver of the train that struck them was taken to hospital and was in shock afterward.
"He was a fantastic family man," said Pavlovski's uncle, standing in the driveway of the family home.
"Everything he did, he did for his children. I don't know what else to say," choking back tears and retreating back into the home.
Pavlovski was a 22-year veteran of the transit service.
Neighbours reacted with a mix of shock and grief.
"I saw him last week cutting the grass and he waved and smiled at me," said Burdam Butt, who lives next door. "And now he's gone. It's quite a shock. It's awful."
Butt said Pavlovski and his wife Gina have three children, a daughter who just started high school and a twin boy and girl who are approximately seven-years-old.
"It's tragic for his wife and children," he said.
Neighbour Sally Ullathorne said she will always remember Pavlovski for a single act of kindness. He saw her elderly husband up on a ladder trying to make repairs to their home and came over to help.
"He told me not to let (my husband) get back up on that ladder, that he'd take care of it."
"This is all such a terrible shock," she said, shaking her head.
TTC officials, Toronto police and the Ontario Ministry of Labour continue to investigate the death and provided few details about what went wrong. "What I want to understand as soon as possible is exactly what happened here," said TTC CEO Andy Byford. "Was it a desperately unfortunate mistake or was there some kind of deficiency in our procedures?"
Byford said the entire transit service was in mourning. Pavlovski was the leader of his maintenance crew and truly professional, he said.
"This has been a terribly shocking day for the TTC," Byford said.
Subway service was halted in the area for more than seven hours as authorities investigated the deadly accident.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford's office issued a statement about the tragedy Friday.
"I would like to take this opportunity to convey my sympathies to the family of Peter Pavlovski, who lost his life while on the job earlier this morning," Ford said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with them and the family of the second employee who was injured."
It has been more than five years since a TTC employee was killed on the job.
TTC worker Tony Almeida died on April 23, 2007, after a work train crash in the subway tunnel.