Yes, a contractor is demolishing the building. No, the fire was not arson.
The fire occurred during demolition work being done during the overnight hours to minimize impact upon nearby businesses and to allow demolition crews to use the parking lot behind 30 King.
The fire did not cause structural damage and “accidental ignition” was determined to be the cause. Fire crews returned the building to the contractors upon finishing their work.
There is demolition work underway at the site and all permits are in order. I’ve emailed the City of Hamilton requesting copies of the permits issued for the work at the site. (I could not find the demolition permit on any of the planning committee agendas)
It is city policy that demolition permits in the downtown core include a requirement that a new building must replace the structure within two years or fines are imposed. This condition does not apply in the case of an unsafe order requiring the building be demolished in the interests of public safety.
I’ll post the permit information as soon as I receive it.
The Fire Department did upgrade the scene at 30 King East to a two-alarm as a safety precaution. With the building partially demolished, the district chief ordered extra crews.
This created the impression to passersby, myself included, that the fire was a bigger deal than it was. In addition, the Fire Department had to respond to another small fire at the same time.
A transformer fire on Robinson Ave required the dispatch of units from Hamilton Mountain. For a brief time, sirens were echoing throughout the downtown core.
Hence the chatter – the two small events sounded like one big one.