NEWS

Downtown highrise fire displaces language school for months

02/06/2013 11:58 EST | Updated 04/08/2013 05:12 EDT
Hundreds of international students and dozens of teachers left without a school after a Toronto highrise fire last week may be forced to hold their classes in a hotel for several months.

The International Language Academy of Canada had office space in an apartment building on Yonge Street and Davenport Road, where a fire broke out last week after underground hydro vault exploded.

Tenants are still without homes or places of business, and the Fire Marshall told the school it could be several months before they can return.

The language school has been renting space from a nearby hotel and squeezing students into the academy's other locations.

"It's just been a disaster," said International Language Academy of Canada's executive director, Jonathan Kolber.

"We've had to relocate all of our administrative staff, we don't have offices now. Twenty staff registrars and student counsellors had to move in this [temporary] location."

About 40 teachers and 400 students have been affected by the highrise fire.

Student Fahad Alharthi says he is slowly adjusting to the change, but he understands that this is what's best for his safety.

"I was a little bit angry, but now it's okay," he said.

On Jan. 30, the underground hydro vault in the 17-storey building exploded with enough force to buckle the doors and send smoke throughout the highrise.

More than 100 people and a number of pets were evacuated from the building, which had nine commercial floors on the bottom and eight residential floors above.

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