Fire at former theatre building in Sudbury deemed suspicious

Entrance to main building of former Theatre Cambrian after Friday morning fire. Oct. 1/21 (Alana Everson/CTV Northern Ontario)

Sudbury Deputy Fire Chief Jesse Oshell says firefighters are at the former Theatre Cambrian/St. Eugene building downtown after a fire Friday morning.

Calls came in about flames coming from the windows of the former church around 6:15 a.m., Oshell told CTV News.

A crew from the main fire station downtown got to the Eyre Street South location quickly. When additional crews from New Sudbury, Minnow Lake and Long Lake arrived, there was a search of the property.

Residents in the area told fire officials people have been seen inside the building, but no one was found to be inside at the time of the search, Oshell said. However, the nature of the fire and evidence found leads officials to think there may have been squatters inside the empty facility at one time.

The fire is being deemed suspicious and police are being called in to investigate.

Theatre Cambrian told CTV News it sold the building in April.

"That place was the soul of theatre in this city. Each and every one of us got our start there," Jeffrey McNeill, an actor with Theatre Cambrian, told CTV News.

Oshell spoke to the current owners who said they hadn't really done anything to the building since taking possession.

Firefighters were able to get the fire under control quickly and have begun the overhaul work of pulling apart walls to ensure there is no additional fire spread and that all hot spots have been extinguished.

No injuries in connection to the incident have been reported.

Officials are asking the public to avoid the area of Eyre Street South, off of Elm Street.

No word on the cause of the fire or the amount of damage.