2 injured during 'suspicious' College Street fire

Two people suffered minor injuries during a "suspicious" two-alarm fire on College Street this morning.

Platoon chief says blaze seems suspicious

The two-alarm blaze was knocked down by fire crews quickly. (Tony Smyth/CBC)

Two people suffered minor injuries during a "suspicious" two-alarm fire on College Street this morning.

The blaze broke out around 4 a.m. near the intersection of College and Borden streets. While fire crews managed to get it under control relatively quickly, the flames penetrated the roof of the building, causing extensive damage.

"It was a pretty intense fire ... thick black smoke and high flame conditions," said TFS platoon Chief Dan Sell. 

He said about 45 firefighters and 17 vehicles battled the blaze. 

Firefighters rescued a man from a third-storey window. (Tony Smyth/CBC)

The three storey, mixed retail and residential building — which is painted on one side with a mural of the great fire of 1904 — was home to six tenants, five of whom were home when the fire started. 

"I woke up to the sounds of screaming and then my roommate broke down my door," said Krista Schilter, a resident who was standing on the street without shoes when she spoke with CBC News.

"Our whole living room was filled with smoke and there were embers everywhere. So we smashed a window because we couldn't go through the front door."

Schilter says bystanders who were across the street at the time came running over and helped catch the residents as they jumped from second and third floor windows. 

"I got out in the nick of time," said Alexander Carson, who tried to save his hard drives before escaping through a window. "I have no idea where we go from here," he added, looking back at the burned out building he used to call home.

One man was taken to hospital after he hit his head while being rescued from a third-floor window. 

Sell said he's notified the Ontario Fire Marshal and requested they investigate.

"I'm a little suspicious of this because of the extent of the damage at the back of the building. It's quite severe," he told CBC News. 

College Street was closed in both directions between Bathurst Street and Spadina Avenue as crews investigated what may have caused the fire, but has since been reopened to traffic. 

About 45 firefighters and 17 vehicles responded to the blaze. (Tony Smyth/CBC)


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