Blaze guts the Viking Deli

[attach]1029[/attach]It’s a depressing sight on Laird Drive at the moment as the ruins of a once-prosperous bakery and smokehouse lay burnt out and desolate.

Milbree-Viking Deli and Bakery at 133 Laird Dr. went up in smoke the evening of Nov. 20 in the mostly industrial area just south of Eglinton.

Toronto Fire Service received the call at 10:15 p.m. and arrived at the scene to find smoke and flames.

Officials quickly classified the blaze as a two-alarm fire and called on 13 trucks and 50 firefighters.

“There’s reason to believe the fire began in the basement,” said Toronto Fire Captain Adrian Ratushniak. “The main floor was burning.”

Firefighters were unable to enter the building, and had to fight the blaze from the outside.

It took about 90 minutes to contain the fire, but by then it was too late.

The single storey brick building was completely gutted and the equipment inside was left in ruin. There were no injuries.

Officials have estimated the damage to property at $250,000.

“We’ve lost everything,” said a distraught Liisa Ottavainen surveying the scene three days after the blaze.

Ottavainen and her husband Heikki bought the Scandinavian smokehouse and deli nine years ago. She added a bakery to the business where she produced a number of popular items, including her famous Finnish rye breads.

Heikki manned the lower level, where he cured and smoked the business’ meats, fish and poultry.

Although the cause of the fire is yet to be officially determined, arson is not suspected.

—With files from Francis Crescia