Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Buildings Evacuated after Massive Fire Breaks out in Midtown Toronto

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Buildings Evacuated after Massive Fire Breaks out in Midtown Toronto

Article excerpt

Buildings evacuated after massive fire in Toronto

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TORONTO - Firefighters continued to pour water on a massive and "hazardous" blaze in midtown Toronto early Wednesday, several hours after the fire began and forced the evacuation of surrounding buildings.

Division Cmdr. Len Stadler said the fire at The Badminton and Racquet Club was still active as midnight approached but was confined to one area of the building near the busy intersection of Yonge St. and St. Clair Ave.

Heavy excavation equipment brought to the site to knock down walls so that firefighters could get to the "seat" of the blaze were still on the scene to tear down debris.

Fire Chief Matthew Pegg said the excavator work was a "very slow operation" and that firefighters would remain on the scene through the night and into Wednesday.

"There's a lot of structural instability ... so it's a very slow and methodical, almost arduous task. We're going to be here all night. We're definitely still going to be here in the morning," Pegg said at a late-night news briefing.

Pegg also said evacuation orders put in place during the fire would remain in effect overnight and would be assessed in the morning. He said many factors need to be considering before lifting any evacuations.

"Those buildings will need to be checked for air quality. We've had to shut off natural gas in the area (and) most of the hydro is shut off, so all of those things are going to have to be rectified," said Pegg.

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

Mayor John Tory added that people displaced by the fire should prepare for an extended evacuation.

"If they have a safe and comfortable place to stay, there should probably plan on being there for part of day tomorrow (Wednesday), perhaps all day just because it's going to take time," he said. …

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