Person of interest in fire

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By News Editor

Emma Prestwich

Police have found a person of interest in the ongoing investigation into the Yonge and Gould fire.

Surveillance camera footage captured an image of a person with a backpack walking towards the alleyway beside the heritage building at 1:30 a.m. on Monday morning, then lost sight of them, said Det. Mike Love in a news conference Friday.

The back of the alleyway has loading docks, but no other exit.

The person is seen again at 3:50 a.m. leaving the area, still wearing the backpack.

While Love wouldn’t say whether or not the person exited through Ryerson, he did say they walked northeast away from the site, where Ryerson’s campus is located.

Security personnel from a local business made the call to the fire department at 4:05 a.m.

Love wouldn’t specify the person’s gender, and said no witnesses have come forward in relation to the person of interest.

Still images and video footage are available on the Toronto Police website and their YouTube channel.

Love said there was a lot of fire damage on the third floor, and further excavation might show where the blaze started.

“Once we get an opportunity to actually excavate all of that area and get down to the second, then we’ll be able to see if it actually sourced from the second or if it was sourced from the third.”

Investigators haven’t been inside the building to search for bodies yet. The building has to be lowered to the second floor and then deemed safe before anyone can enter, Ontario Fire Marshall supervisor Bill Hiscott told reporters Thursday.

Police are investigating arson as a cause but haven’t confirmed it yet.

Debris samples from the site might also give some insight into the fire, said Hiscott.

The building has also been classed as an asbestos site, and excavation staff have been wearing breathing apparatus and wetting down the building.

Hiscott said, however, that there’s no danger to passerby of breathing in the asbestos.

He said he expects excavation to finish Sunday or Monday. Temporary fences have been put up around the site to stop debris falling into the road.

Photo by Lin Nguyen

Watch the footage here:

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