Firefighters extinguish Agincourt Recreation Centre blaze after 39 hours
Authorities say a fire that started at Agincourt Recreation Centre on Thursday evening was put out Saturday morning after nearly 39 hours.
Toronto firefighters began battling the fire when it broke out just before 5 p.m. Thursday at the building near Sheppard and Midland avenues.
At its height, the blaze was a three-alarm fire, but because of difficulties battling the flames, the rotation of equipment and crews was at a five-alarm level.
With that designation, there were 22 to 25 emergency vehicles on site.
No one was injured in the blaze, but the building has significant damage, particularly in the pool area.
“It’s fairly extensive, but the best thing is property we can rebuild. Nobody was hurt,” said Toronto fire Capt. Scott Harrison.
An arena in the building was spared the brunt of the damage, officials said.
Late Friday night, heavy machinery was also brought in to tear away parts of the roof to expose any remaining hot spots.
A drone was also used in the firefighting efforts to help pinpoint heat signatures.
Extreme cold temperatures and the thickness of the roof made it hard for crews to put out the fire.
The Agincourt Recreation Centre is the second busiest facility in Scarborough, with nearly 3,000 registrations for more than 400 different courses in the winter session, City of Toronto spokesperson Brad Ross said.
Officials said they plan on moving those programs to other city facilities.
The Ontario fire marshal is now on scene investigating the cause of the fire.
Christiaan Ter Stege from the Fire Marshal’s Office told reporters that while the exact cause is under investigation, some witnesses told him the fire may have begun in an equipment room on the second floor of the facility.
“Once we can determine the area of origin, we’re going to start to look at potential ignition causes,” Ter Stege said.
He said most of the damage is also in that area of the building.
“Obviously, with equipment rooms, we have an HVAC system, pump generation stations,” Ter Stege said.
“We want to make sure if we have electricity there, it’s a potential cause for ignition so we’re going to examine those points.”
Coun. Cynthia Lai, whose ward encompasses the recreation centre, told Global News that she is working with community members to relocate programs and is looking to set up a temporary office to address inquiries regarding the fire.
“It’s really heartbreaking and very sad news,” she said.
“(I’m) very committed to making this centre reopen as soon as we can.”
Lai said it is too soon to say how long it will take for the centre to be fixed but added that it suffered “massive” damage and the current priority is the investigation.
Area resident Adrian Gonera said he and his family used the recreation centre for swimming and skating.
“It’s quite devastating to see it in this condition,” he said.
“I don’t know what all these kids are going to do around here now … We’re going to miss it.”
WATCH: Toronto firefighters battle major fire at Agincourt Recreation Centre
—With files from Nick Westoll
© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.