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Man dies in gaybourhood fire

Memorial planned to honour Kendall Adams

FIRE FATALITY. 61-year-old Kendall Adams, pictured at George's Play last month, died after a fire at 56 Maitland St where he was a tenant. Credit: Al Ryce

One man has died after a fire tore through the brownstone walkup at 56 Maitland St, between Church and Yonge in the heart of Toronto’s gaybourhood.

Kendall Adams, 61, was discovered by fire crews in the third-floor hallway and later died in hospital. The Ontario Fire Marshal has begun an investigation into the blaze.

“He was a spitfire of a guy, cute as a button,” says friend Richard White. “When he hugged you it was pretty overwhelming. He’ll be greatly, greatly missed. It’s very shocking.”

The fire is currently believed to have begun on the second floor on the west side of the building.

“His apartment was 311… so I can imagine the smoke was terrible, fire raging up the stairwell,” says White.

Friends of Adams — who was also know by his middle name, Roy — gathered at George’s Play, where Adams was a regular, on Sunday evening to remember his life. A memorial service will take place on Sun, Apr 19 at the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto (115 Simpson Ave) at 2pm.

“He was a beautiful man,” says longtime friend Al Ryce. “He was one of those people with an individual style, somebody you recognized right away. Sort of a quiet kind of person with a heart of gold.”

Adams worked for 25 years as a hair dreser at Salon Riccardo on Church St just south of Bloor.

“I’m still feeling numb, still trying to comprehend,” says owner Riccardo Dinunzio, who learned of Adams’ death on Apr 6 after a client of the salon’s alerted another stylist.

“He was a fixture on Church St. Even if you weren’t a client of Kendall’s you knew of Kendall.”

The fire, which started around 11:30pm on Saturday night, has left the building temporarily uninhabitable for its approximately 60 residents. Of those 12 are currently being housed at Metro Hall. According to the City of Toronto it will be weeks before residents will be allowed to move back into the building.