Historic Toronto hotel fire deliberately set

The 122-year-old Empress Hotel in downtown Toronto burned down on January 3, 2011.  MICHAEL...

The 122-year-old Empress Hotel in downtown Toronto burned down on January 3, 2011. MICHAEL PEAKE/QMI Agency

TOM GODFREY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:57 PM ET

TORONTO - A six-alarm blaze that injured two firefighters and gutted a heritage building last month was deliberately set, Toronto Police say.

About 125 firefighters and 32 fire trucks responded to the Jan. 3 fire at the 122-year-old Empress Hotel in downtown Toronto. A wall collapse had already shut down the building in April.

Const. Tony Vella said officers from 51 Division are working with the Ontario Fire Marshal's office. He said police have determined the fire was deliberately set.

Two Toronto firefighters were rescued by their colleagues after they fell from the roof of the building into the flames.

Police released surveillance footage of a person of interest seen in an alley next to the building the night of the fire. Officers have been trying to locate the suspect.

The person is videotaped walking toward the building around 1:30 a.m., and

is seen leaving around 3:50 a.m., police said. The fire was reported shortly after 4 a.m.

Police said it's not possible to tell whether the individual - who wore jeans, a dark jacket and a light-coloured backpack - is male or female.


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