Hamilton

Massive weekend fire in downtown Hamilton is 'suspicious:' police

Hamilton police say the massive fire that brought down an empty and historic building in the city's core is being considered "suspicious."

Cause of fire is still under investigation, police say

Police say the fire at the former site of the Hamilton Store Fixtures is suspicious. (Andrew Collins/CBC)

Hamilton police say the massive fire that brought down an empty and historic building in the city's core is being considered "suspicious."

Const. Indy Bharaj said in an email officers are still investigating the cause of the fire and possible suspects, but didn't elaborate on how police came to consider the fire suspicious.

CBC Hamilton contacted the officer of the Ontario Fire Marshal and the local fire department for further comment.

No one was injured in the blaze, which the fire department said was first reported at 6 a.m. Saturday.

Fire Chief Dave Cunliffe previously said the fire burned for hours and gutted the building, located near King Street West and Caroline Street South. About 45 firefighters were involved in extinguishing the flames.

"The building is a total loss," he said, noting timber inside the building created a "deep-seated fire."

Sections of the building's walls fell onto a building to the east that houses a fast food restaurant, onto vehicles in a parking lot north of the building and onto nearby streets.

Debris damaged street lights, traffic lights and a bus shelter, he said.

The century-old building was the former site of the Hamilton Store Fixtures and a radio station.

Toronto developer Vernon Shaw (who turned the Pigott building in downtown Hamilton into condos) had a plan for the building.

Dubbed the Radio Arts Building, the project said it would be 15 floors and include 117 units ranging between 450 square feet and 550 square feet. It also planned for brick-and-beam offices and retail in front.

It is unclear how the fire may impact the development. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bobby Hristova is a journalist with CBC Hamilton. He reports on all issues, but has a knack for stories that hold people accountable, stories that focus on social issues and investigative journalism. He previously worked for the National Post and CityNews in Toronto. You can contact him at bobby.hristova@cbc.ca.

With files from Kelly Bennet

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