The worst of the blaze is over, but firefighters remain on scene after a blaze tore through a North York bagel shop Sunday.

The fire broke out in the basement of Haymishe Bagel Shop on Bathurst Street near Lawrence Avenue at around 10:15 a.m.

According to Division Commander Bob O'Hallarn, the first firefighters on the scene entered the basement through a back exit but had to leave when the first floor partially collapsed.

The fire then spread throughout the business and is now threatening an apartment above.

By around 3 p.m., about 65 firefighters were battling the four-alarm fire.

“Our first crews arrived and did find heavy flames in the basement. They tried to make entry in the basement to attack the fire there, but the floor was already collapsing and they were forced out,” O'Hallarn told CP24 at the scene. “Since then we have been fighting the fire defensively and have been doing our best to contain it to the one store, but we know now that it has spread into the apartment above.”

Several nearby businesses and residences were evacuated as a precaution.

It is not known when the evacuation order will be lifted.

“We are not letting anybody back in until we make sure this fire is out,” O'Hallarn said. “It is going to take a lot of water and at some point we will have to get some equipment inside (the basement) to excavate that portion so we can make sure it (the fire) is totally out.”

Four employees were inside the bagel shop when the fire first broke out, but they all escaped safely.

The Ontario Fire Marshall has been called in to investigate.

Bathurst Street was closed from Dell Park to Lawrence Avenue because of the fire. The road reopened around 7:30 p.m.

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