Queen St W fires worry area shop owners
Businesses along Queen Street West are worried about the fires that have recently damaged and destroyed buildings in their area.
This morning, a fire started in an apartment over Jacobs Hardware store just west of Spadina Ave. It is the second serious fire in the area in as many weeks. Two weeks ago, a three-alarm blaze destroyed a building near Soho St, east of Spadina Ave.
Shop owners blame the aging buildings on the fires.
Susie owns Leo's Textiles (the shop and the building) west of Spadina Ave and says she was amazed at how easily the building near Soho St came apart.
"They took it down like a piece of sand," she says. "All these buildings... are not strong and too old."
She says landlords on Queen Street West are being restricted by heritage designations.
"The government, they say it's history. But the buildings are not strong. What kind of history do they want?" Susie says.
Sung Ho owns a building right across the street from the latest fire and agrees with Susie.
He pointed to his crooked front window frame, saying he hasn't been allowed to replace it to straighten it out.
"I already talked to the city and they said, 'Don't touch this,'" he says.
He says he needs to get permission from the city to fix anything inside his shop and so he just doesn't fix anything.
"Because I worry they're going to give me a lot of problems," he says. "Once I touch it, I'm in trouble with heritage law, so I don't want to."
Susie says the city should ease up on the heritage restrictions so that buildings can be properly renovated.