Toronto

Another fire breaks out at 650 Parliament

Emergency crews responded to a fire in the highrise apartment building at 650 Parliament Street Wednesday morning.

Building has been vacant since Aug. 21, 2018 following an electrical fire

A fire in the highrise apartment building at 650 Parliament Street on Wednesday morning was quickly extinguished by fire crews. (Martin Trainor/CBC)

Emergency crews responded to a fire in the highrise apartment building at 650 Parliament Street Wednesday morning.

The highrise has been vacant since Aug. 21, 2018 after an electrical fire tore through the building, forcing more than 1,500 people to leave.

Capt. Karen Reid with Toronto Fire Services said Wednesday's fire started in one of the vacant apartments on the 15th floor.

Fire crews were called to the area shortly before 8 a.m.

Fire Chief Matthew Pegg later tweeted that the fire had been fully extinguished and there were no injuries reported.

He said a fire investigations team was sent in to determine the cause of Wednesday's fire.

The Aug. 2018 fire started in the basement of the building and sent thick plumes of smoke pouring out of multiple apartments, causing substantial structural damage and knocking out the electrical system.

Residents were initially told to expect to move back into their units in early 2019. Then, in February, Wellesley Parliament Square — the company that owns the highrise — said they may be able to return in June.

In March, the estimated return date was pushed forward to August.

'Fire shouldn't represent any kind of a setback'

Mayor John Tory said city officials have been talking continuously with the management of the building, and have also been inspecting the work that's being done to get the building back into a state of repair so people can move back in.

He said Wednesday the objective has always been to have the residents move back into their homes.

"I was just saying this morning, 'think about how incredibly disruptive this has been for the lives of those people,'" Tory told reporters.

"It's one thing to be out of your house for a week or out of your apartment for a week, but they've been out of their apartments for almost a year now.

"I'm told that this fire shouldn't represent any kind of a setback and that actually we're getting much, much closer to the day when people can move back in," Tory added.

Platoon Chief Kevin Shaw with Toronto Fire Services says contractors working in the building noticed smoke. (Martin Trainor/CBC)

Meanwhile, Danny Roth, a spokesperson representing Wellesley Parliament Square, said it's too early to say whether this fire will impact the move-in date for the residents.

At the same time, he said he doesn't believe they will be able to start re-occupying their units in August. Roth said this has been communicated to the residents.

"We continue to make great strides in terms of physical repairs to the building," he said.

Platoon Chief Kevin Shaw with Toronto Fire Services said contractors working on the electrical system noticed smoke and called it in.

"Fortunately they got it, making sure that everybody was out of the building," Shaw told reporters at the scene.

"Between fire investigators and the electrical authority, who's also here, hopefully [we] will determine the cause."

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