Continuing the bewildering trend of under-construction homes in Toronto catching fire, a massive inferno ravaged 35 residences this past Sunday, laying waste to a valuable piece of firefighting equipment in its wake.
The alarm was sounded at approximately 4 a.m. as firefighters raced to Simmons Street, located in the vicinity of Highway 27 and Rutherford Road in Vaughan, Greater Toronto Area. Upon arrival, they were confronted with a harrowing scene: a thick shroud of obsidian smoke and ferocious flames devouring one of the housing complexes. Exacerbated by northerly winds, the conflagration swiftly leaped to adjacent complexes, prompting a swift upgrade to a three-alarm fire.
At the height of the battle, approximately 60 firefighters and 14 pieces of firefighting apparatuses were engaged in the struggle, as the blaze engulfed between 30 and 40 unoccupied units on the premises.
In the face of these dire circumstances, Vaughan Deputy Fire Chief Grant Moffat grimly explained, “Because we went from stick-built construction, which would be all wood, to fully-bricked drywalled homes – we can’t get inside them; you couldn’t get inside due to fire conditions, and now we’re battling it defensively.”
Moffat lamented the loss of an aerial fire truck, the initial responder to the scene, which succumbed to the relentless flames. “Due to the rapid flames moving through the complex, they couldn’t move the truck, and unfortunately, it’s a total loss,” Moffat confirmed.
For the safety of the nearby residents, several homes were evacuated as a precautionary measure. Fortunately, these residents have since been allowed to return to their dwellings, and no injuries have been reported.
The Office of the Fire Marshal has been summoned to conduct an exhaustive investigation aimed at unraveling the enigma surrounding the fire’s origin and cause. Rutherford Road has also been reopened to traffic, spanning from McGillivray Road to Highway 27.
This is not the first time a pre-construction real estate project has burned down in Vaughan. In a similar incident that occurred in April, a devastating fire took place, resulting in the damage or destruction of at least 71 home units within a subdivision under construction. Vaughan Fire and Rescue confirmed that the incident affected 32 single homes, 21 townhomes, and 16 firebreak properties.
A year ago, a massive fire erupted, engulfing numerous homes under construction in Hamilton. The incident occurred in a recently developed area by Losani Homes near the intersection of Rymal Road and Upper Red Hill Valley Parkway. The Ontario Fire Marshal’s Office was contacted to aid in the investigation alongside the Hamilton police. Preliminary estimates suggest that the incurred damage amounts to at least $10 million.
In June, a fire erupted in a Richmond Hill subdivision, starting in one home and quickly spreading to three others. The York Regional Police reported that the fire caused extensive damage to these unoccupied properties, and while the cause remains unclear, lightning could be a potential factor. Six Branthaven townhouses, part of the Millcroft Towns project, were also completely destroyed by an early morning fire in August.
In the same month, this was followed by a fire that destroyed at least eight under-construction homes at Keonig Road, in a development that runs between Dundas Street and Thomas Alton Boulevard just west of Walkers Line.
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