‘Like a bomb went off’
Area residents still out of homes following downtown Toronto fire
Many residents remain out of their homes in the aftermath of an enormous fire that ripped through a Toronto athletic club.
Tuesday’s fire forced the evacuation of six buildings in the busy midtown neighbourhood, but Toronto Fire deputy chief Jim Jessop and a city spokeswoman tsaid some residents might be able to return to the buildings by Wednesday night.
After inspecting the remnants of The Badminton and Racquet Club, Jessop said it “looks like a bomb went off.”
The blaze started shortly after 9 a.m. Tuesday and wasn’t extinguished until nearly 6 a.m. Wednesday, and Jessop called the damage “astronomical,” but added the fire wasn’t considered suspicious.
Firefighters continue to battle “a few hot spots” and the cleanup is underway, he said.
No one was seriously injured as more than 100 firefighters battled the raging fire that sent smoke billowing over a large area of the city.
Part of the club’s roof collapsed along with a number of other “partial collapses,” said Toronto Fire Chief Matthew Pegg. Heavy excavation equipment was brought to the site Tuesday night to knock down walls so that firefighters could get to the “seat” of the blaze.
“I highly doubt there’s going to be a lot of salvageable building left there,” Pegg said.
Still, the chief called the “defensive operation” against the fire a success.
“Our crews were able to prevent a very large fire from spreading into the adjoining structures and that was our number one goal after we had secured the safety of residents and firefighters,” Pegg said.
Only four people needed emergency shelter overnight as everyone else found a place to stay with friends and family, he said, adding he’s unsure how many people have been displaced by the fire.
Firefighters battle a six-alarm fire on Yonge St. south of St.Clair Ave. in Toronto Tuesday. The blaze was finally declared extinguished Wednesday morning.