Starting around 4 a.m. Monday morning and continuing well into the afternoon, a blaze that erupted near Ryerson University delayed traffic and shut down the school for the remainder of the day.
Ryerson University had been in talks with the current owners of the now defunct property about purchasing the area in order to expand its campus.
“Ryerson has expressed interest in the building because they want that corner to be a gateway marker for the university, but no transactions have taken place yet,” said Kristyn Wong-Tam, Ward 27 councillor for the City of Toronto.
The cause of the fire is still unknown. Investigators are looking for bodies in the debris to see anyone was on-site and are attempting to determine the cause of the fire, according to Wong-Tam.
The site was in disrepair before the fire took place, according to Ryerson’s President Sheldon Levy. In a recent interview with The Globe & Mail, Levy expressed his dismay at the dilapidated state of the site, urging the city to restore it since the University was looking into purchasing the property.
It took 32 fire trucks and 125 firefighters to extinguish the fire. Two fire fighters were injured when they fell roughly 20 feet into the burning building while attempting to put out the blaze.
“For about 24 minutes, the fallen firefighters had no contact with their fire squad, everyone was very anxious,” Wong-Tam explained.
“[Ryerson] did reopen, but the students won’t be permitted anywhere near Yonge Street because Yonge Street is still closed off,” Wong-Tam said, adding that the busy shopping district cannot reopen until the end of investigations, which may not be until the end of the week.
No serious destruction has been reported by Ryerson University except for some smoke damage to the university’s bookstore.
— With files Monica Blaylock