TORONTO - Toronto firefighters Wednesday battled an early morning six-alarm downtown fire that swept eight storefronts and apartments above the stores.
The 911 call was received just after 5 a.m., and the initial crews escalated the status quickly when there were concerns people were trapped in apartments over the two-story row of old buildings, CFTR-AM reported.
Fire crews later said everyone had been evacuated safely, CP24-TV reported. City buses were called to shelter the evacuated residents from sub-freezing temperatures, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp., reported.
At least one of the buildings collapsed and the fire was still considered out of control at 7:30 a.m., firefighters said.
There were at least 49 firefighting vehicles on the scene, flanked by police and ambulances on Queen Street, a major east-west artery in Toronto.
Blocks away, fans had to be installed in three subway stations to blow away smoke, CFTR said.
Initial speculation was the fire began in a shed behind one of the buildings but firefighters said it was too early to confirm the blaze's origin, the reports said.
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