Yonge fire investigation closes

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By Sarah Giallo and Emma Prestwich
News Editors

The fire investigation on the corner of Yonge and Gould streets finished on Monday. The building has been taken down to the second floor and fire officials were finally able to enter to conduct the investigation.

Bill Hiscott, a supervisor for the Fire Marshall’s Office said samples that will hopefully determine the cause and origin of the fire have been sent away to the lab for tests.

“We’ll do our best. We’re looking at all the debris that’s there, and we will be taking samples that will be going to the lab. Hopefully the samples will identify what the cause of the fire was,” he said.

Results will not be back for another couple of months.

The six-alarm fire overtook the heritage building at Yonge and Gould just after 4 a.m. on Jan. 3, 2011. It was the same building that stood empty for eight months after one of the walls collapsed last April. The building had been slotted to open Jan. 15 following renovations by Toronto Hydro.

Police announced that they had found a person of interest on Friday, who was captured on security cameras entering the back alley of the building around 1:30 a.m. and exiting the alley around 3:50 a.m.

The aforementioned back alley has no street exit, only loading docks at the back. The person is shown in the camera footage exiting onto Gould Street and walking north-east, which would indicate a path through Ryerson’s campus.

Det. David Love of the Toronto Police would not identify the source of the camera footage, saying only that it came from a local business.

However, Ryerson security has 280 cameras positioned around campus and several at the intersection of Yonge and Gould.

Now that the investigation has finished at the site of the fire, debris can be cleared off Yonge Street, machinery and fences that occupied traffic lanes all of last week. It will be opened back up to vehicles, and stores on the east side of the street will be able to reopen.

Pedestrian traffic may be lighter as both sidewalks will be open.

Fire officials went in to confirm that there were no victims in the building, and the search yielded no bodies.

The Investigation only started this weekend as no one could enter the building until it was deemed safe by engineers. The building had to be lowered to the second floor so that there was no risk of falling debris.

Investigators have not yet identified a cause of the fire, but an arson investigation has been ongoing since Jan. 5.

Photo: Lin Nguyen

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