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Updated: Thu, 27 Mar 2014 19:02:40 GMT | By CBC News, cbc.ca

Mattress factory fire upgraded to 6 alarms



This photo was Tweeted by Toronto Fire Services and shows the massive black smoke cloud, which could be seen from across the city. Toronto Fire Services

This photo was Tweeted by Toronto Fire Services and shows the massive black smoke cloud, which could be seen from across the city. Toronto Fire Services

Toronto firefighters are battling a massive, six-alarm blaze at a mattress factory in the city's north end.

Toronto Fire Services responded just after 8:30 a.m. to the fire at 198 Fairbank Ave., near Castlefield Avenue. That  location is just north of Dufferin Street and Eglinton Avenue. The fire was originally listed as a two-alarm fire and was upgraded to six alarms shortly after 11:30 a.m.

The fire is sending large plumes of black smoke into the sky that can be seen from across the city.

Toronto Fire Services Deputy Chief Mike McCoy said firefighters have confirmed that no one is inside the building, and crews are fighting the blaze from a defensive position.

"We're settling in for what's going to be a long afternoon," said McCoy. "The fire is moving around inside. As we get a handle on it on one way … it runs to the other side of the building."

There are concerns about chemicals present in the smoke from the fire. The building is full of stacks of mattresses, made of foam, rubber and other materials. Toronto Fire Services issued a message on Twitter, calling for people to stay inside and keep windows closed if smoke is in the area.

"We're got a breezy day, [the smoke is] dissipating fairly rapidly," said McCoy. "It wasn't heavy enough that it's causing us concern."

Students kept inside school

Students at nearby Joyce Public are sheltering inside their building. A school board spokesman told CBC News the students will be kept in the building during recess and that the building's fans will be shut off if there is smoke near the school.

The fire had broken through the roof of the large industrial building, and Toronto Fire Services was asking people to avoid the area due to heavy smoke.

A total of 24 trucks and more than 100 firefighters responded, including multiple aerial units. Some nearby buildings have been evacuated. 

Police have closed Dufferin Street between Wingold and Castlefield Avenues.

The Ministry of Environment is testing the air quality in the area after a Toronto Public Health request.  

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