The cause of a two-alarm fire that brought 100 firefighters to a Dufferin Street church building yesterday has not yet been determined.
Twenty fire trucks arrived outside the former Dufferin Street Presbyterian Church at 3 p.m. after neighbours reported heavy smoke coming through the roof.
Most of the roof ended up collapsing. Firefighters took several hours to get the blaze under control, with one truck staying overnight to monitor the situation.
While there were some concerns about the entire structure collapsing, a city building inspector visited the site last night and determined the walls are still strong enough to stand.
No one was inside the building at the time of the fire. One firefighter was injured, but not hospitalized.
Toronto Fire Services estimated the damage to the building at about $100,000.
The property, located at 1183 Dufferin St., south of Dupont, has been vacant since 2010, when it was acquired by the development company Concept Lofts.
The company planned to renovate the 100-year-old building to support 14 trendy lofts, with prices starting at $349,000. Steven Silva, the realtor in charge of selling the lofts, said that his company will wait to hear from the Ontario Fire Marshal before changing any development plans.
“I was shocked. I think I’m still in shock,” he said. “We’re going to do our best to maintain the church as much as we can.”
District Fire Chief Stephan Powel said that churches, synagogues, mosques, and other large gathering halls are more prone to fires than other buildings.
“They’re a wide open space, so there’s a large volume of air with no restricted partitions. If you get a fire on a ground floor, generally speaking, there’s nothing to stop the fire from travelling up the walls and to the roof,” said Mr. Powel, who noted that the first-floor ceiling in most homes helps keep the fire from spreading hire.
The Ontario Fire Marshal will start investigating the cause of the fire on Monday, Feb 3. It may take up to 90 days to determine what started the blaze.