York Memorial Collegiate Institute fire deemed accidental but cause still unknown
Ontario Fire Marshal's office could not say whether building is structurally sound or provide cost of damage
The Ontario Fire Marshal's office has ruled that a massive fire that tore through York Memorial Collegiate Institute earlier this year was accidental, but what exactly caused the ignition remains unknown.
The six-alarm fire, which broke out in May, burned for more than 24 hours, causing serious damage to the historic building and displacing some 900 students and staff.
Three months later, the OFM says its investigative team has been unable to isolate the source of the ignition but has concluded the fire was an accident.
The OFM also hasn't said whether the building is structurally sound or whether it needs to be torn down.
The school, whose cornerstone was laid in Toronto's Eglinton Avenue W. and Keele Street area on May 6, 1929, had just marked its 90th anniversary when flames broke out.
Firefighters battled the flames for some four hours before the fire was finally knocked down.
The following morning, firefighters were called for reports of a second blaze, which quickly escalated to six alarms, gutting much of the building.
Built in the wake of the First World War by the old township of York, York Memorial Collegiate Institute had been covered in symbolism, in honour of the young men in the community who gave their lives as soldiers.
The OFM could not provided an estimated cost of the total damage.
Toronto Fire Chief Matthew Pegg says he won't be commenting on the report until he has reviewed it "in detail in order to gain a full understanding as to the origin, cause and circumstance."
Toronto District School Board spokesperson Ryan Bird says the board also won't be commenting. "Our focus right now and in the weeks ahead is on York Memorial students and staff as they begin the school year," he said.
Students from the school will start the their school year at Scarlett Heights.