I was walking home just past noon today when I saw huge black clouds straight ahead of me as I turned north on to Strachan Avenue from East Liberty Street. It was obviously a fire and, although I could tell it was two blocks east of my house, it was close enough to lure me in. I kept on walking and saw a dozen fire trucks, that many cops, and about 50 firefighters battling a blaze at the corner of Richmond and Strachan. Flames and smoke were billowing out the back of the second floor of a Victorian townhouse, and the hoses from the trucks had little pressure at first to try and put them out, which didn't help. Part of the house was engulfed and collapsed, but most of the structure seemed pretty solid. Unfortunately, there were adjoining townhouses that also got caught up. I heard that one of them contained a dog and three cats and I went around to the front to get a look at them. Firefighters broke windows and doors to enter and the animals were thankfully rescued, but there was extensive smoke and water damage. The firefighters actually had to cut a hole in the roof of one of the adjoining houses to get water pumped into it, so even if all the houses don't have to be gutted, I'm sure that we're looking at damages in the high six figures. I also saw a police officer who looked like he had a pretty serious burn on his arm.
I heard that there were roofers on the house who were throwing things from it earlier in the day, so I suspect that they could have done something to trigger the blaze. But an investigation will hopefully find out the actual cause.
The temperature was 30 degrees and I was sweating even before I got near the fire. I don't know how firefighters can don heavy suits and enter burning buildings and actually get things done in all that heat. You have to respect those guys. Even if I wasn't wary of ladders (one fell out from underneath me when I was cleaning out eavestroughs years ago, and I had to jump down after the eave I was hanging on to started to give way), I know that I wouldn't want to be a firefighter.
But the Canadian Country Music Awards media conference that I attended this morning, combined with my fire-gawking, put me behind in my work. Since I have to keep working towards meeting my CCMA awards program writing and editing deadlines and have an article to write for the Toronto Sun, it looks like I'll be working on an amateur baseball story tonight instead of hitting an early show by Spirit of the West at Lee's Palace. I haven't seen the band in years, but I used to be a big fan. And since my weekend trip to Nova Scotia has inspired me to listen to some Celtic music this week at home, it would have fit in well with the theme. Oh well, hopefully the next two nights will provide me with blog fodder if tonight doesn't.