String of fires has East Yorkers on edge

A series of overnight fires in East York has residents in the community resting not so peacefully lately.

Six fires were set in the Coxwell Avenue and Danforth Avenue area just after 3 a.m. Wednesday morning. Firefighters first responded to two calls on Oakdene Crescent. Shortly after, they received a call about a car in flames on Strathmore Boulevard, which was immediately followed by three more calls on Coxwell Avenue.

The worst of the six was on Strathmore Boulevard, where the fire destroyed an SUV and caused minor damage to two homes. Neighbour Orval Rice, described the scene when he awoke just after 3 a.m.

“We could smell the burning plastic … then we could hear the horn of the car go and then an explosion … the flames were quite high coming out of the automobile,” said Rice.  “It is a bit of a shock…. What goes through my mind is, God I’m glad there is nobody in that thing and I‘m glad there is nobody hurt.”

Although no one was injured, Toronto Police and Toronto Fire are urging people to be vigilant. Sgt. Mike Strapko, of Toronto Fire recommends people keep their yard waste, garbage and recycling locked up, along with all combustibles. Also, anything flammable that is out in the open should be kept away from homes, garages and cars.

For many long-time residents of the neighbourhood like Beena Rajendra, this incident has left them feeling a bit insecure.

“I am very concerned about it,” Rajendra said. “I never expected this to happen in Toronto, let alone East York.”

Toronto Police, Staff Sgt. Hunter Smith, of 54 Division says, there are currently no suspects, and asks anyone with video surveillance to check it for suspicious behavior between 3 and 4 am. If anyone has any information they are urged to contact 54 and 55 divisions, or Crime Stoppers.