York Memorial C.I. gutted in 6-alarm blaze.

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From Toronto District School Board.

A second, devastating fire has gutted the main, 90 year-old building of York Memorial C.I.. A huge plume of smoke was seen over the old City of York today, 24 hours after a smaller fire was discovered and extinguished.

Staff and students had been spending the day at George Harvey C.I. on Keele but were sent home after smoke from the fire hit dangerous levels. Fire Chief Matthew Pegg described the damage to the 90 year-old school as major but believes that the more recent additions containing the library and pool can be saved. Chief Pegg called today’s fire ‘separate and distinct’ and ordered the use of foam in order to suppress and starve the fire. He stated that a 6-alarm fire response is almost unprecedented in Toronto’s history.

High smoke levels were experienced south of Eglinton from Trethewey to Bicknell and firefighters went door to door advising residents to leave.

After yesterday’s fire, a security team was left behind to monitor the building but somehow, a different fire began today.

According to 12 Division’s Superintendent Ron Taverner the first fire was thought of as suspicious – he would not speculate on the probable cause of the second.

This month, the school was set to celebrate the 90th anniversary of its opening in 1929 as a memorial to soldiers who fought in the First World War. The building is currently home to 900 students (none of whom were in attendance today) and contains many artifacts and unique structures. These are feared to be lost as a result of the blaze.

Councillor Frances Nunziata was at the fire scene along with Mayor Tory. Nunziata said that she hopes that the school can be rebuilt inside while salvaging whatever is left. She said there will need to be a lot of healing in the next few months.

The only good result from today is that there were zero casualties.

2 thoughts on “York Memorial C.I. gutted in 6-alarm blaze.”

  1. As sad as it is to see the venerable old school go, I wonder how likely it is to be rebuilt with most area schools at less than 60% enrolment, and George Harvey CI down the street much lower still… And with Eglinton property values ever rising.Report

  2. It is a terrible thing when a school is lost within a community especially one with such a history. But there is an opportunity here to rebuild a modern school that will serve future generations. With the Eglinton LTR, gentrification occurring in a tired community, and the Province’s requirement to increase density not just in Toronto but all over the province, a new school in this neighbourhood would help in the rebirth of the area. Literally and figuratively we need a Phoenix to rise from the Ashes. We need a strong leader who will champion the rebuild who is able to set aside the emotion and politics for the greater good. Our kids deserve that much.Report

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