More than 40 hours after it started, fire crews finally managed to declare the blaze at a Scarborough recreation centre extinguished.
“Stubborn is the right word,” said Chief Matthew Pegg after the fire at the Agincourt Recreation Centre, near Sheppard and Midland avenues, was fully extinguished just after 7:30 a.m. Saturday. “This is one of the more demanding fires that I have seen.”
@Toronto_Fire has declared “loss stopped” on the Agincourt Recreation Centre fire scene at 07:38 this morning. All fire has been extinguished. The fire investigation will get underway at 8:30.
— Matthew Pegg (@ChiefPeggTFS) February 2, 2019
Pegg says despite how long it took to suppress the fire and the size of the blaze, firefighters were able to prevent any extension of the fire into the arena portion of the building.
“The bulk of the fire and actual damage from the fire is limited to the pool area and immediate surrounding areas and roof structure,” said Pegg.
While there is significant damage throughout the roof structure over the pool area, Pegg says the actual fire damage inside is “remarkably low” adding it is mostly water damage.
“To be able to keep the fire where it was and prevent it from spreading throughout the building and to completely prevent it from spreading into the arena is an outstanding success.”
Pegg says while there is no visible evidence of fire damage to the arena portion, he could not say when it might be operational again as some of the equipment that feeds the arena refrigeration process needs to be assessed.
Pegg says they have now transitioned into the investigative phase of the operation and there would be no information on where the fire specifically started, what caused it or any damage estimates until the investigation is completed.
“In consideration of the amount of fire that we had, the size of the fire and the amount of the operation, the limited damage I’m seeing inside is pretty impressive.”
On Friday, Mayor John Tory said the city is working on a plan to relocate as many of the rec centre’s programs as possible to other facilities, like the Toronto Pam Am Sports Centre, the Centennial Recreation Centre and the Birchmount Community Centre.
He also said the Agincourt Recreation Centre would be rebuilt as soon as possible.