A major fire broke out at a three-storey house on Keewatin Avenue near Yonge and Eglinton early Tuesday. Fire officials siad that the blaze began at the back of the building and eventually spread to all three floors of the structure.
Reportedly, there were no people inside the building at the time of the incident. Toronto Fire Services were alerted at 6:08 a.m., and the fire station on Montgomery Avenue was the first to respond.
The incident was escalated to a three-alarm fire when “over 60 firefighters, 15 firetrucks,” and over 20 other emergency units responded after a firefighter issued a “mayday call,” said Capt. David Eckerman, a spokesman for the Toronto Fire Services, in a telephone interview Tuesday afternoon. Eckerman could not quantify how many three-alarm fires occur in a year, but he did said that it wasn’t the first one of 2019.
The houses on the street are zoned for both residential and commercial purposes. The lower floor of the building where the blaze broke out was being used as office space for MCI Group Inc., a global event management firm with offices in 31 countries. The upper floors had residential quarters that were vacant at the time.
“At this point, we are just trying to get a handle on the damage,” Cynthia Richards, Director of the corporate division of MCI Group in Canada, said in a telephone interview.
Shaken next-door neighbours were evacuated from their homes for safety reasons, and they decided to convene at Taylor Robert’s house across the street from the fire. Roberts took photos from his kitchen window. There was no apparent damage to the surrounding buildings.
One resident told the Toronto Observer that a fire of this magnitude was unheard of in the neighbourhood. Jane, who didn’t want her last name used, has lived on the street for 11 years.
The fire was put out after a few hours, and the neighbours were allowed back into their homes around 11 a.m. However a smoky stench still lingered in their houses, well into the afternoon.
The cause of the fire is still under formal investigation.