TheWaverley_FirePhoto: Daniel Gilman

Traffic was backed up during Friday morning’s rush hour at Spadina Avenue and College Street as fire crews battled a three-alarm fire at the construction site of The Waverley in downtown Toronto.

Toronto Fire arrived on the scene at around 7:10am and no injuries were reported, according to reporting by CP24. The fire was under control by 8am but crews remained on site to monitor hotspots and to ventilate smoke out of the building. The Toronto Fire Services Investigations Division is now conducting an investigation on the origin and cause of the fire.

Video footage from pedestrians below showed flames spewing from an upper floor access point along the building’s exterior hoist or elevator. These temporary structures are used on construction sites to vertically transport workers and materials as the building’s interior elevators are under construction.

“We observed heavy fire in one of the top units resulting in burning materials dropping down onto the roof below which ignited a secondary fire, so crews were contending with two fires at the same time,” said Jim Jessop, Acting Fire Chief, to reporters. “The platoon chief made the absolute right call escalating it to a three-alarm fire and the women and men today did a great job in dealing with the fire.”

TheWaverley_Construction1Photo: James Bombales

The Waverley is a new purpose-built rental apartment developed by Fitzrovia Real Estate and has been under construction since 2018. The building is located on the former site of the Hotel Waverly — one of the city’s most notorious hotels. Built in 1900, it was known for numerous drug and prostitution raids, worn down interiors, an underground after-hours club, and infamous patrons including Arthur Lucas, a convicted murderer who was the last person to be executed at the Don Jail in 1962.

TheWaverley_Construction2
Photo: James Bombales

The property closed its doors in 2017 as plans for the new rental building moved ahead under Fitzrovia Real Estate, which acquired the property from Wynn Group Residential. Demolition began in 2018 and included the adjacent Silver Dollar Room, however, the former music venue and its iconic signage will be restored and integrated into the new development.

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