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One person injured in fire at North York synagogue



A synagogue in North York was badly damaged in a two-alarm fire Thursday morning that left one person injured, and officials are working to determine the cause of the blaze.

Firefighters responded to a call for a commercial industrial fire at a building at Bathurst Street and Wilson Avenue just after 9:45 a.m.

Toronto Fire Services told CP24 that there are two synagogues in the building, one of which was the location of the fire.

The fire was extinguished and one person was treated for smoke inhalation at the scene. Toronto Fire Deputy Chief Jim Jessop said their injuries are considered non-life-threatening.

Jessop said the synagogue was substantially damaged, but firefighters were able to remove a number of religious artifacts from the space. Crews remain at the scene to clear the remaining smoke and a TTC bus has been deployed to provide shelter.

The cause of the fire is unknown at this time and officials are unsure if it is suspicious in nature, Jessop explained.

The Ontario Fire Marshal has been notified and a Toronto Fire Investigator, as well as Toronto police, have been called in to investigate.

Speaking from outside the synagogue, local Coun. James Pasternak said while he understands that news of a fire at any place of worship is “disturbing,” it’s too early to make any conclusions about what caused the blaze.

“In this heightened state of alert within the Jewish community because of world events and local events, obviously a fire in a place of worship, in a synagogue, is deeply upsetting and concerning. But, at the same time, we have to be vigilant. We have to let the investigation take its course and find out the results,” he said.

In the meantime, he said the two synagogues are working to set up their operations in a temporary space while the fire damage is cleared.

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