pamenar fire toronto

Fire rips through the basement of beloved Toronto cafe

One of Kensington Market's most popular cafes has incurred thousands of dollars in damages after an electrical fire last week. 

Like all other cafes and restaurants during the pandemic, Pamenar Cafe — the beloved hang on Augusta Avenue — was empty Thursday night when a fire started in the basement. 

According to Pamenar owner Pouria Lotfi, signs point to an electrical cord as the culprit for the fire, which spread across the basement, completely destroying wiring, plumbing, and ducting before being contained by Toronto Fire Services. 

The main floor of the cafe also sustained some damage. Lotfi estimates the total cost of repairs will be at least $50,000, pending insurance claims. 

If paid out of pocket, it'll be a hefty fee to swallow as businesses across the food industry are forced to shutter due to COVID-19. 

"Were we open, somebody would've noticed and took immediate action," says Lotfi. 

"It was already hard enough for my type of independent establishment to survive given the state of municipal bureaucracy and neighbourhold NIMBYism. This really doesn't help." 

The cafe has seen a massive outpouring of support from the community, and a Gofundme created for Pamenar has seen more than $11,000 raised out of its $15,000 goal in just a few days.

Lotfi says some of the money donated will go toward staff who've been temporarily laid off, or are part of the community and could use financial help. 

Lead photo by

Pamenar


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