In the wee hours of Tuesday morning, the Tommy & Lefebvre store at 464 Bank Street suffered a terrible fire. The location was the flagship store for the family-owned company established in 1958. Luckily, no one was hurt.
Here's a shot of the store from last fall:
Marc Racine a pris un video de l'incendie, qu'il a mis sur YouTube:
By Tuesday afternoon, all that was left was the charred shell of the building. But the sun still glistens off the trim and the building stands tall and proud, just like the owners who vow to rebuild.
Parts of the roof have collapsed, and the windows were all broken in. The building spans nearly a whole block.
The Southbound lanes were closed to traffic, with the Northbound lanes left open to minimize congestion. T&L Vice-President Natalie Tommy chats with some onlookers as police and fire vehicles populate the background:
The Vietnamese Kitchen next door as well as the adjoining apartments escaped serious damage, but they'll still be closed for a while due to the smoke damage. The fire marshall, climbing on the roof of the building, will determine when it's safe to return.
The rarely-used back doors of the building were open, and the glass tubes of the familiar neon lights were broken. A golf bag is on the sidewalk in front of the empty window displays.
The signs on the outside are just slightly singed by fire, but they belie the $2 million in estimated damages inside.
Along the side of the building, you can clearly see the marks left by the ferocious flames we saw in the video, as an engineer enters the building to inspect the damage.
Two workers from the City's signage department install signs permitting two-way traffic on McLeod from Kent to Bank, so that people can still access their houses on the other side of the blocked street. (This will also be useful in the upcoming construction on Bank Street this summer)
Centretown has had a few fires in the last little while: the two arsons in the building at Bank and Somerset, Aimee's Convenience store, among others. The site at Florence and Bank remains vacant since the fire at 2003, though I distinctly recall Galaxy Camera announcing their flagship store to be constructed there.
As for T&L, they'll rebuild. They're tough. They'll get through this.