UPDATE: Fire Guts Wyandotte St. Businesses

The Ontario Fire Marshal's office has been called in to investigate the cause of a large fire that gutted a Wyandotte St. restaurant.

Damage is extensive following the blaze at the El-Mayor Restaurant, which damaged some nearby businesses.

Fire crews were called just before midnight on Wednesday for a garbage fire, but when they arrived, they realized it was a structure fire as flames were shooting through the roof.

Two aerial fire trucks are being used to douse the fire.

"They basically went into the building on the east side here and we started fighting the fire here and have been here since midnight," says Acting District Fire Chief Matt Emery.  "It was very difficult. It is a very large fire load inside there and so it was difficult to fight."

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Fire at El-Mayor Restaurant on January 3, 2019 (Photo by AM800's Teresinha Medeiros)

The cause and damage estimate are not known.

Meanwhile, the owner of a nearby business was shocked to see all the fire crews.

Ed Salloum owns the "Wise Dollar Store" a few doors down from El-Mayor and calls it devastating.

"Well it's terrible. I just came in. I just went shopping this morning and I came in to open the store and found it like this," he says.  "I asked them and they said you can not get in so I don't know. They said they have to check the building after.  I don't know what to say."

Because of the fire, Street Help Homeless Centre just a few doors down from El-Mayor,  is closed until further notice.

Administrator Christine Wilson-Furlonger says she arrived at the centre around 3:30am and there was a thick cloud of smoike inside. "I just couldn't believe that much smoke had actually come into the building," she says. "We rushed to get a wet face cloth to make everybody cover their nose and mouth."

No injuries are reported.

Head Chef and Night Manager Wissam Abbas, whose father owns the restaurant, says the family is still in shock.

— With files from AM800's Kristylee Varley