More than 80 firefighters battled a three-alarm blaze that destroyed a commercial building in Queen St. W. early Tuesday morning.
At 12:42 a.m., flames shot out of a three-story building at 369 Queen St. W. near Spadina Ave., which houses a couple of apartments and a Roots store. Within four minutes, the fire spread and was upgraded to a three-alarm alert.
Fire crews sprayed streams of water onto the building for 40 minutes until the fire was extinguished around 1:30 a.m. They were dousing minor flare-ups as late as 2 a.m.
The fire caused the building’s roof to cave in and its second floor to collapse, leaving the front dangerously bowing by one foot, according to Toronto fire Capt. David Eckerman.
Before the blaze broke out, Eckerman said neighbours reported hearing explosions from inside the building.
Though it’s unclear what caused the fire, Eckerman ruled out strong winds from superstorm Sandy as the sole reason.
“There might be some electrical problem that was made worse by the weather but you can’t blame it just on the weather regardless,” he said.
Eckerman added that the storm didn’t affect the firefighters’ ability to extinguish the fire but required them to bring extra equipment and ensure the strong winds didn’t blow embers onto adjacent buildings.
After a preliminary search, Toronto fire determined the building was inhabited.
No injuries were reported.
For the next 24 hours, fire crews will search the building for spot fires and deep-seated burns that threaten to flare up.
They will also be assisting the Ontario Fire Marshal, who is on scene to determine the cause of the fire.