Published: Thu, February 16, 2017
World | By Carl Welch

Toronto firefighters continue to battle hot spots in six-alarm blaze

Toronto firefighters continue to battle hot spots in six-alarm blaze

The Ontario Fire Marshal will be on scene today to investigate the cause of the fire and estimate the damages.

Firefighters have been forced out of the Badminton & Racquet Club of Toronto in the St. Clair Avenue West and Yonge Street area after a massive fire.

Excavation equipment was called in Tuesday evening to help firefighters demolish the building and get at the hot spots.

One firefighter was treated for a minor injury at the scene.

"There's a lot of structural instability ... so it's a very slow and methodical, nearly arduous task".

Pegg says residents and office workers won't be allowed back into the evacuated buildings until Wednesday afternoon at the earliest as they deal with expected hot spots and flare-ups throughout the day. He said many factors need to be considering before lifting any evacuations. Carbon monoxide levels have decreased to a safe level and crews are continuing to monitor the air quality.

Hydro and natural gas are both shut off in the area, Pegg said.

"As we get into tomorrow (Wednesday), we should have a better idea as to when we can let people back in".

Late Tuesday night, Pegg said commuters could likely expect delays in the morning.

The fire was burning for over 12 hours, Jessop said.

They stayed on-scene all night, and the fire was under control as of 5:45 a.m., said Chief Matthew Pegg of Toronto Fire Services.

"We have a lot of exhausted firefighters", Pegg told reporters.

Firefighters were ordered out of the building, so fire crews had to tackle the blaze from the balconies of neighbouring buildings.

"This is a challenging situation but these are the situations Fire Services are trained and equipped to respond to", Pegg said.

Pegg called it "a very hard and very hazardous fire fight for our crews", adding they were concerned about the blaze spreading to neighbouring buildings, including a 14-storey, 87-unit condominium that has also been evacuated.

There's no indication at this point what started the blaze, which broke out on the second floor of the racquet club at 25 St. Clair Ave. W.

Jessop said so far, there is nothing to suggest that any of the surrounding buildings sustained structural damage. "We've seen different segments of the walls begin to collapse and I fully expect that will continue".

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