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Allen Pinkerton (reader photo)

Fire prevention systems need to be restored and updated, officials said, before 1,200 people can move back into a downtown apartment building where a six-alarm blaze broke out days ago.

There's no timeline for how long that will take, or when residents can expect to move in or even be able to collect their belongings.

Doors that were forced open during the evacuation also need to be repaired. Crews were able to begin the work on Monday after some parts of the structure were reinforced.

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An inferno of flames and ash could be seen from a balcony on the 24th floor Friday evening. The investigation is in the preliminary stages but it's believed that an "excessive" amount of items, such as newspapers, in the unit where the fire started contributed to its intensity.

"It's very ugly," said Chris Williams, from the Ontario Fire Marshal's Office. Fire, smoke and the water used to put out the fire has damaged the entire building, he said.

Residents were anxious to know where they stood. "I want to know if I have anything left to save," said Steven Peacock, a resident from the 22nd floor, who stood outside the Wellesley Community Centre using a cane to support himself.

The environment inside the community centre, one of the emergency shelters, is tense because people are frustrated about not knowing how long it will be before they can collect their things, said Mr. Peacock, who is hoping to retrieve his wheelchair.

Many residents of the Toronto Community Housing building are among the city's most vulnerable.

About 200 residents of 200 Wellesley St. E remain in temporary shelters at the community centre and the University of Toronto Exam Centre, set up by TCH and other city groups.

More permanent housing is being looked to address future needs, said Mitzie Hunter, TCH's chief administrative officer.

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Resident Stephen Vassilev said outside the community centre that he thinks the fire started in his apartment, suite 2424, where he kept many legal documents. He said he wasn't home at the time of the fire but he'd had problems in the past with people throwing cigarette butts onto his balcony.

Dozens of boxes containing donated clothes and shoes were unloaded from the back of a pickup truck Monday afternoon. Donations can now be made at any Royal Bank of Canada branch in Toronto. Some clothing items are still needed but officials ask that gift cards be donated.

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