‘Like a bomb went off,’ of­fi­cial says in af­ter­math of huge Toronto fire

The Hamilton Spectator - - CANADA & WORLD - LIAM CASEY

TORONTO — 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 spokesper­son said 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.

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.

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