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The Globe and Mail

Toronto fire that razed heritage building being probed as arson

Firefighters work to extinguish the last remaining of fire at the the old Salad King, an heritage building located on Yonge and Gould Streets that resulted destroyed by a six-alarm blaze.

Fernando Morales/The Globe and Mail/Fernando Morales/The Globe and Mail

The fire that scorched and ruined the heritage building at the corner of Yonge and Gould Streets early Monday is now being investigated by police as a possible arson.

"Yesterday a search warrant was granted and the Toronto Police Service are now in the investigation along with the fire marshals," Constable Scott Mills told The Globe and Mail Wednesday.

Constable Mills said he wasn't sure what evidence triggered the criminal investigation, but that it would have been something the fire marshal deemed suspicious.

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But details are few. "It could be anything," Constable Mills said.

Earlier Wednesday, an audio-only video clip of panicked firefighters rushing to save the heritage building from the massive six-alarm blaze was posted on YouTube.

Thirteen minutes into the clip, one firefighter can be heard yelling, "Mayday, mayday, mayday!"

Shortly after, a different voice: "Rescue 325 Captain has issued a mayday. He's fallen through the roof of 333 Yonge Street."

The building is actually located at 335 Yonge Street.

Another mayday can be heard just minutes after the first, as a second firefighter falls over the roof. Those two fallen men are later pulled back up with fire hoses lowered into the building.

In total, three firefighters were sent to St. Michael's hospital with minor injuries after the fire. Another was treated on scene.

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The building is now set for demolition.

"It just can't be saved," Captain Mike Strapko said Wednesday.

Meanwhile, a primary investigation of the wreckage sped up early this morning as a mechanical arm began removing debris from the ruins for inspection.

But the building still isn't safe enough for people to enter. "We're not sending anybody in there," Captain Strapko said.

He also added it's not yet clear whether or not anyone was killed in the fire. There's still a possibility the building had housed squatters.

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