NEWS

Whitby council moves to demolish heritage building gutted by fire

04/07/2015 10:14 EDT | Updated 06/07/2015 05:59 EDT
Whitby city council voted to remove the heritage status a more than 100-year-old building that was gutted by fire last week, paving the way for the building to be demolished.

The emergency council meeting was called in response to the extensive structural damage caused by last Friday's fire. A stretch of Brock Street will remain closed as the building is in danger of collapsing.

Fire officials said over the weekend that engineers were attempting to determine if the antique facade of the building could be salvaged, but the damage is too great.

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"Now there's the ability to apply for a demolition permit for the property owner and insurance company, and we'll be able to move forward with the demolition," said regional Coun. Elizabeth Roy.

It's not clear when the building will be knocked down, but Mayor Don Mitchell told CBC News the priority is getting the downtown core up and running again.

"Mainly we've got to get the road open and we have to get the hydro on and get the business back going and take it one step at a time," he said.

The blaze displaced 21 people from the mixed-use residential and commercial building in the downtown core and some long-time residents of Whitby have been devastated.

"It was a happy place on Thursday," said Kerry Large, the owner of Kake Kreations, a bakery that has been forced to move.

"Now? It's heartbreaking …. It was my dream location. I've been a Whitby resident for 40 years and I've always wanted to have a location downtown," she said.

The Ontario Fire Marshal's Office completed its investigation earlier today, but was unable to determine the precise cause of the blaze. 

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