The owner of a popular bakery and restaurant in northeast Scarborough is vowing to rebuild after it was engulfed by flames early Thursday morning.
The two-alarm fire ripped through Fahmee Bakery, located in a strip mall on Montezuma Trail near Brimley Road and Finch Avenue East, leaving it with a partially collapsed roof. Toronto Fire Services responded to a call at 4 a.m. There was some damage to adjacent units, but there were no injuries. There's no word yet on the cause.
Owner Faiz Abdella says he's "still processing" what occurred.
"It's been my life," he said. "Losing this location is not just trouble for our other locations, but also our wholesalers."
The bakery and restaurant supplies its famous patties to retailers across the city, including those at Warden, Bathurst and Islington subway stations. It's not just a wholesale provider, but a cherished spot where people have been getting their meals for decades.
Thousands of patties are made by hand at this location, but now because of the fire, production has come to a halt and staff members have to wait to go back to work.
Abdella says a a neighbour called him in the early morning to tell him the bakery was on fire.
"I still don't believe it," Abdella said.
"I was just in shock. I jumped out of bed and came here at 4:30 a.m. and saw my life burn before my own eyes. It's everything to me."
As the roof has partially collapsed and parts of the bakery are still smouldering, he hasn't had a chance to inspect the building. He says firefighters told him they don't know where the fire started, but adds he's confident that it wasn't due to a mistake by any of his employees.
'I'm going to rebuild'
Despite the shock, Abdella is already planning to reopen, saying he makes the "flagship patty" of the city.
"I'm going to rebuild. It's not to come back to normal, it's to come back better, bigger," Abdella said. "When we come back we've got to share this patty with the world."
He hopes to reopen at the same location, but he doesn't know when that will be. However, he remains confident the community will still support his bakery.
"This is our community, this is our home, I can't imagine a place outside of here," he said.
When regular customers arrived at the strip mall for lunch on Thursday, they were shocked to see what had happened.
"This is so unfortunate; this is a favourite place of ours," said Rose Patrick.
"I'm so sorry for the owners and everyone involved. This is a staple on Montezuma Trail and this community. I don't know what will happen now."
"I can't believe it, I'm so shocked. This is so upsetting," said Jimmy Cappellano, who came all the way from Oshawa just to eat at the bakery.
"For years I've been coming here; honestly they have the best food."
Cappellano said every time he comes to the bakery there's a lineup, including wholesalers that sell Fahmee's patties across the city.
"I can't imagine how many stores this is affecting"