Sassafraz Is On Fire!
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Sassafraz Is On Fire!

Photo by David Topping
Torontoist (in the form of staffers David Topping and Marc Lostracco) was on the scene earlier this afternoon as a fire consumed the ultra-famous Sassafraz Cafe in Yorkville. The area was filled with smoke, and Bloor from Queen’s Park to Bay was completely shut off to traffic as some 29 firetrucks crowded the area. There were no injuries, though the building itself may be beyond repair. Notably, we spotted Rachel Bilson from The O.C. shopping in the Yorkville area as the fire was happening. This begs the question—did Summer burn down Sassafraz?
We’ve been covering the fire since it started, and our live updates and tons of photos are all posted after the fold.


2:17 p.m.—The roof just caved in. Bye, Sassafraz. Fortunately, as of yet we’ve heard no reports of any injuries.
2:31 p.m.—Marc Lostracco’s photos are now live on the site—see all of them below.
2:35 p.m.—Frank Yang of Chromewaves was also on the scene and has some shots on his Flickr, and Raymi has some on her site, too (with a video). !! omg blog !! was the first blog we know of to have news up about it. If you’ve got shots, upload them to our Flickr Pool!
3:17 p.m.—The Star gives us the skinny: no injuries, likely a kitchen fire, started at about 11:30 AM, Sassafraz is “destroyed,” though “it’s possible the building’s structure can be saved.”
4:32 p.m.—We just received some spectacular footage from the 9th floor of a building overlooking Sassafraz set to…uh…Blink 182 (at right).
5:07 p.m.—Tons of great shots from readers are still coming into our Flickr Pool, which isn’t surprising considering how many people down there were taking shots with camera phones, SLRs, point-and-shoots, and pretty much anything else with a lens. At this point, we should really extend our thanks to the police officers in the area, who were nothing but courteous to us, and to Roots, who let us take photos from their second floor window facing the fire.
6:17 p.m.—We are just now receiving word that Summer in all likelihood did not burn down Sassafraz, and a source who saw her shopping tells us that she isn’t actually all that pretty in person. We’re devastated.
10:30 p.m.—According to The Star, “‘The roof looked at one point to be in danger of collapsing on its own but that didn’t happen, [Fire Chief Bill Stewart] said. ‘What you’re seeing now is white smoke – that’s good,’ the chief said. ‘That’s steam coming out of the building. We’ve got (the fire) under control now.'” The drama, it seems, is finally over. We’re gonna go run over and survey the final damage—like whether that roof is caved in (is caved in the same thing as collapsed?). One last update when we get back, and then we’ll call it a night.
11:17 p.m.—All that’s left now is a lone firetruck in front with its mechanical arm still extended beside the roof, police tape closing off a very small perimeter around the building, and a cop car parked just outside of that tape. There are about a half-dozen firefighters in the area, in no particular rush, and only one or two curious people are left—nothing like the chaos earlier today. The roof does appear to have partially collapsed/caved in (there’s a small hole near the top of the roof that looks to be somewhere around 8 feet wide and 3 feet long), but most of the rest of the structure of the building looks intact, and it’s still easily recognizable as Sassafraz. No steam or smoke seemed to be coming from the building, either. Inside, chairs near the front windows look strewn all over the place, but it’s difficult to see how bad the interior damage is. Looks like it’s over.


All photos by contributor Marc Lostracco