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5-alarm fire breaks out at York Memorial Collegiate Institute overnight

York Memorial Collegiate is on fire for the second time in two days after a blaze broke out in the early hours of Tuesday morning — just a few hours after a fire at the school was believed to be under control.

The fire was called in by crews at about 3:30 a.m., and was upgraded from four to five alarms over the course of the morning, taking the number of responding trucks up to 25.

Just before 9 a.m., Toronto Fire Chief Matthew Pegg tweeted that conditions were “deteriorating,” and that a section of Eglinton Avenue was being evacuated due to smoke from the fire. No injuries have been reported.

“While this is the same building we were at yesterday, all indications are that the fire we are dealing with now is separate and distinct,” said Pegg.

Fire crews were first called to the 90-year-old school on Monday afternoon, and the fire was believed to be in hand within a few hours.

Toronto Fire Capt. David Eckerman says crews called a second alarm early Tuesday morning after doing heat checks in the school.

“Even yesterday it was understood that fire was in the walls and ceilings. When its hidden like that and when you have an old structure like this, it’s difficult to get in front of the fire,” said Eckerman.

He said the damage so far is “substantial,” adding that there have been some ceiling collapses on the first floor. Some bricks have also fallen from the school.

Students and staff at the school have been asked to go to George Harvey Collegiate Institute, located about ten minutes on foot from York CI, on Tuesday morning.

Some TTC routes are also diverting due to the fire.

York Memorial Collegiate Institute officially turned 90 yesterday — with its cornerstone laid on May 6, 1929. 90th anniversary celebrations had been planned for the end of the month.


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