Toronto street remains closed after blasts

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TORONTO – A section of King St. in the heart of Toronto’s financial district remained closed early Tuesday more than 12 hours after a series of blasts shut down the area and sent commuters scrambling for safety.

There were no injuries in the incident which began with an initial explosion in a hydro vault shortly after 5 p.m. The explosions sent heavy black smoke billowing from grates outside a Royal Bank building near King St. and Yonge St.

Toronto Hydro said crews would have to pump water out of the vault and dry the equipment before venturing inside to start repairs, but that effort was delayed during the night because of flare-ups.

“Fire had to be called back in because they found a few more trace fire elements that forced them to evacuate the area again,” Toronto Hydro spokesman Brian Buchan told CP24.

“They had to cease that work, leave the site and call fire back in, so they haven’t to my knowledge gotten back into the site and fire is still there trying to secure the area.”

Toronto Fire Platoon Chief Kevin Shaw earlier indicated authorities would only be able to begin looking for the cause of the overheated equipment in the vault once hydro crews gained access to the vault.

Buchan could not say when that might happen.

“The problem is getting into the site, cleaning it up again and making sure that it is able to connect properly and safely.”

Police cruisers and yellow tape continued to divert traffic away from the scene on King St. early Tuesday.

The incident disrupted transit service in the area, but Toronto transit officials said a subway station returned to operation late Monday and north-south buses along both Yonge and Bay streets were running as usual. The east-west King St. streetcar was still being diverted.