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Cabbagetown gay business burns

No one injured in two-alarm fire

UPDATE – Nov 17: An electrical failure in the attic is the cause of Tuesday’s fire in Cabbagetown, said David Eckerman, a fire captain with Toronto Fire’s public information section.
Damage is estimated at $165,000, Eckerman says, adding 102 firefighters responded to the blaze.
Three apartments took the brunt of the damage, he says. Hydro is disconnected and will not be restored until repairs are complete, Eckerman said.

NOV 16: A local gay business is severely damaged after a two-alarm blaze ripped through a block of historic buildings in Cabbagetown on Tuesday, Nov 16.

When John Walke, the owner of Superstein, a clothing store at 460 Parliament St that was directly beneath the site of the fire, saw flames shooting out the windows of the building, he bolted down the street.

“I just went out running and screaming,” he describes. “I thought, ‘Oh my God, the place is burning!”

Superstein is closed Mondays and Tuesdays, but Walke says he can see the building from his nearby apartment.

“Firefighters just started cutting holes into the building with their axes,” he says. “They had the fire out before the water was turned on.”

Toronto Fire platoon Chief Larry Fry says the fire started at about 2:40pm in one of the third-floor units above Walke’s store. No one was hurt in the fire.

“It was a stubborn interior fire,” Fry says. “The roof took most of the damage.”

Fry says the fire affected 12 residential units and five commercial units. A Toronto Housing and Support representative is working to find accommodation for any displaced residents, he says.

Fry says Toronto Fire has not yet determined a cause of the fire, nor is there a damage estimate yet.

Walke, who watched as fire crews swarmed the area, is now worried about the damage to his garments.

“There’s thousands of dollars worth of stock in there,” he says, sounding panicky. “It’s all handmade silkscreen. Hand cut. One piece at a time. All my new collection. I don’t think it’s salvageable.”

“My boyfriend takes care of the business end. I just make the clothes. I’m just glad no people or animals were hurt.”

The area remained closed to traffic for several hours.