Etobicoke home under construction gutted by fire

Etobicoke home under construction gutted by fire
Fire destroys house under construction, prompts evacuation of 2 homes
No injuries were reported after a home under construction went up in flames in Etobicoke overnight, just a week after another suspicious fire smoldered out at the home.

Fire crews responded to 226 Beta Street, in the area of Evans Avenue and Browns Line, at around 3:20 a.m.

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We were getting reports from our dispatch that the flames were 40 feet high. Upon my arrival we were closer to 60 feet high, District Chief Chris Rowland told CP24 at the scene.

Fire destroys home under renovation in Etobicoke

We just had to fight a real hot, hot fire. The heat was so intense that most of the steel beams are all bent, he said.

The renovation contractor claims someone started another fire in the same home last week on the stairs but it was small and didn’t do much damage. Police confirm they were called for the reported arson in the basement on Oct. 25.

The home had been under renovation for some time and the owners were planning on moving in this winter.

The homeowner said he reported the previous fire and installed cameras at the home as a result. He added that he had put at least $500,000 in renovations into the home over the last three months.

Builder Robert Sherlock told CP24 that there was evidence of a suspicious fire at the home just a week ago last Wednesday.

The houses on either side were evacuated as a precaution. The intense heat caused damage to the neighbouring homes but not enough to cause structural issues.

Apparently there was a fire up on the stairways and up through the centre of the building and for some reason it didnt seem to take at that time, Sherlock said.

Fire officials said flames at least 40-feet high broke through the roof and the south wall, causing the entire second floor to collapse.

We locked it all up. We made sure all the windows and doors were fully in the building and put in an alarm system and a camera system in the building, he said.

Emergency crews were called to the house on Beta Street, near Browns Line and Evans Avenue, just before 3:30 a.m. on Wednesday.

He said the owner went by the home to check on it at around midnight last night, just hours before the blaze broke out.

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Sherlock said the home, constructed in the 1950s, had undergone nearly a full rebuild, including the addition of an extra storey. 

He probably would have been in by Christmas because the wiring was all done, the plumbing was all done. All he had to do now was finish the insulation and then go right to drywall, Sherlock said.

A firefighter aims his hose at the flames of a fire at a home that had been under construction on Beta Street in Etobicoke Wednesday October 31, 2018.

A home under construction on Beta Street in Etobicoke is pictured just a week before it went up in flames. (Submitted)

“I feel so sorry for the owner because he’s put such an amount of work and money into this build. It’s a really nice family,” Robert Sherlock said.

A home under construction on Beta Street in Etobicoke was destroyed after a two-alarm blaze broke out there Wednesday October 31, 2018.

An early morning fire has destroyed a house under construction in south Etobicoke on Wednesday, but no one was injured in the blaze.

“Obviously he was devastated by it. So he came over right away and he was in my home and it was very, very distressing for him and his family,” he said.

A week ago, Toronto police said they were called to the same address for a report of an alleged arson.

“I spoke with the owner and he says he’s going to do whatever it takes to make it his family home. Nobody is going to burn him out of his home.”

The residential fire on Beta Street, near Evans Avenue and Brown's Line, prompted Toronto firefighters to evacuate homes on either side as a precaution. Flames could be seen from kilometres away.

A man, who said lived behind the home and helped the owner with the renovations, told Global News the residence was under construction for the past three months.

Firefighters rescued an elderly woman in one neighbouring home and paramedics sheltered her in an emergency vehicle until relatives were able to pick her up, according to Steve Henderson, spokesperson for Toronto Paramedic Services.

Flames were shooting through the roof of the house under construction when firefighters arrived on the scene and the house was engulfed in flames. Crews were called to the fire at about 3:20 a.m.

Rowland said crews managed to extinguish the fire from the outside. The adjacent homes were evacuated as a precaution and no injuries were reported.

Capt. Michael Westwood, spokesperson for Toronto Fire Services, said the fire gutted most of the structure. An estimate of the damage was not available. The homes on either side were slightly damaged.

"The roof, walls collapsed, the floor is unsafe. Fire investigators will be on scene later this morning to start their investigation," he told CBC Toronto.

“They were building their own family home. This was not a home they were building to sell. It was something he was investing in.”

Westwood said the fire was brought under control by 5:30 a.m. Twelve fire trucks and 45 firefighters responded to the call.

The cause and where the fire originated are currently being investigated, but fire officials have not deemed the blaze to be suspicious, he said.

"They look at every type of possibility. That's up to the investigators to determine," Westwood said.

On Oct. 25, Const. Allyson Douglas-Cook said police were called to the home by the homeowner and officers confirmed they found evidence of a small fire in the basement.

The home has been under renovations for the last year and a half, she added. "We know that much," she said.

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