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One dead in explosion in downtown Toronto

An apparent explosion at a popular coffee shop killed one man Sunday and brought Toronto's downtown shopping district to a standstill.
/ Source: The Associated Press

An apparent explosion at a popular coffee shop killed one man Sunday in Toronto’s downtown shopping district.

The explosion occurred at a Tim Hortons coffee shop, and police said another store in the chain was locked down later in the day when a suspicious package was found there, police said.

Toronto police Chief Bill Blair described the incident as a fire in the washroom — not a bombing — and said police were not looking for any suspects. He refused to speculate on a cause “until we determine precisely what happened in that cubicle and what caused those flames that took that man’s life.”

Witnesses reported hearing a loud bang; police said no one else was involved and there were no other injuries.

Daryl Fuglerud, a fire department spokesman, said workers tried unsuccessfully to revive the man, who had burns to his body and had not been identified.

The body remained inside the coffee shop hours after the blast, while authorities cordoned off a block of Yonge Street and evacuated the area. The intersection of Yonge and Bloor Street is one of the busiest shopping districts in the city.

Police said an emergency task force unit dispatched to a second Tim Hortons coffee shop after a customer reported a suspicious package.

A second loud bang was heard in the area several hours after the first explosion, when police detonated a suspicious duffel bag found nearby as a precaution.

“(Police) dealt with it by exploding the package on the street,” Blair said. “There was nothing in the package of a suspicious or problematic nature.”

Officers in white hazardous-materials suits were also seen entering and leaving the store, it was not clear whether a potentially dangerous substance had been identified.