Thunder Bay – News – A major fire has heavily damaged the former Finnish Labour Temple on Bay Street. The fire which started early in the evening of December 22, 2021 has left the roof and the front cupola severely damaged.
Hundreds of Thunder Bay residents gathered to the scene to watch this iconic part of our history burn.
“Its a sad night for Thunder Bay,” stated Derek Parks, a former Director of the Finlandia Association. “Standing with several other final Board of Directors for the Finlandia Association, we witnessed the end to 111 years go up in flames. The steeple has come down. and so a new chapter will begin at 214 Bay St. The symbolism of THAT building of what it meant to everyone will be told for decades”.
Thunder Bay Fire Rescue says that at approximately 19:00hrs on the evening of December 22, 2021 Thunder Bay Fire Rescue responded to an early evening structural fire on the city’s north side at the Finlandia House on Bay St.
The initial alarm was quickly upgraded to a second alarm after crews arrived on site noticed thick smoke coming from the eaves of the third floor and roof. Fire crews responding from Station 3 confirmed a working fire after they entered the building and proceeded to the third floor to attempt an interior fire attack.
Despite aggressive efforts to stop the advancing fire, Fire fighters were eventually pushed out of the building as fire conditions inside the building worsened, thus putting fire fighters at risk.
TBFR Incident Command made the decision at this point to change tactics, taking a defensive posture to continue the fire attack from the exterior of the building to prevent fire from spreading to nearby adjacent occupied structures.
There were no injuries to report at the time of the blaze.
At this time, TBFR crews continue to battle the fire at the site and are expected to remain on scene throughout Thursday.
Thunder Bay Police are requesting that the public avoid the area of Bay Street between Algoma and Secord while the Fire Department continues to battle the Finlandia Club fire. Excessive traffic is causing a safety hazard.
The fire’s cause is undetermined however an investigation is expected to be carried out as soon as fire crews can render the structure safe to do so.
A total of six pumpers, two aerial ladder and one command unit responded to the working fire. There were no injuries to report for occupants or fire fighters on the scene.
Fire damage is extensive to the third floor and roof area, as well as smoke and water damage throughout the building.
Over the past months, there has been growing hope that the famous Hoito Restaurant would be re-opening in 2022. The fire has put that timeline in doubt.