No injuries were reported but emergency response personnel were forced to temporarily clear the building
Ryerson students were evacuated from classes held in the Cineplex theatre Monday afternoon due to a small fire in the Dollarama located in the basement of 10 Dundas East.
District fire Chief Andrew Galica said Toronto Fire Services got a call around 12:56 p.m. and arrived on the scene at 1 p.m. After his crew investigated, they found a small fire had broken out in Dollarama, due to a box catching fire. Galica said sprinklers were then turned on and successfully put out the flames, but left an excess of lingering smoke.
“With the nature of the building and Dollarama being in the basement, there’s no easy way to ventilate everything out,” he said at the scene. “The challenge we’re facing right now is removing the smoke from the concourse area where you can access the Dollarama.”
Galica said they began moving people out of the building within a few minutes of his crew arriving on scene. “We have to investigate what the problem is first before we start arbitrarily moving people when we don’t have to, especially when you have a building with this many people.”
First-year biology student, Alya Batool arrived at the building for her 2 p.m. chemistry class when she saw her professor standing amidst a crowd of people. “Our professor said she’ll have to wait and see what happens and if there’s no change, she’ll have to cancel the class.”
Batool said she was hoping her class wouldn’t be cancelled as they were covering an important lecture topic this week and the fire was already cutting into class time.
Elizabeth Garnett, another first-year biology student, said despite her initial confusion she didn’t care much that she wasn’t able to attend class. But when asked what the chances were of her returning to class if the fire had cleared she said “very high,” as it was a two-hour lecture and it had only just begun.
Rami Shenouda works in the lower half of the building at the Mobile Connect store. Shenouda said he stepped up and assumed the role of guarding the entrance and answering questions, some from panicked passersby.
“What’s going on?” someone asked.
Shenouda answered there was a “small fire in Dollarama” and the entire building would be closed “for about half an hour.”
One middle-aged woman asked how she would get to the subway. Pointing towards the Eaton Centre, he said, “the other side.”
By that he meant the subway entrance that can be accessed through the Eaton Centre.
However, according to TTC personnel, the entrance to Dundas Station through the Eaton Centre was closed off around 1:20 p.m. Despite the closure, firefighters and police officers could be seen from the upper level and lower level entrances, darting in and out of the building.
Ryerson sent out a safety alert at approximately 2:40 p.m. stating that Toronto Fire Services had issued an all clear for the fire.