Donors raise more than $5,000 for owner of U of T hotdog stand destroyed by fire

 thestar.com  4/17/2018 4:48:24 PM 

The University of Toronto community is coming together to help the owner of a hotdog stand on the campus after it burned down Sunday night.

A GoFundMe page has been set up by first-year graduate student David Wosnick, who said the hotdog stand located outside John P. Robarts Library, near Harbord and St. George Streets, is a staple at the university.

“My heart kind of broke when I saw the picture,” said Wosnick, who became aware of the incident after seeing pictures of the stand engulfed in flames on social media.

“Everyone has, at one point, probably drop by to get a hotdog from that stand before.”

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Wosnik said he’s been in contact with the family who owns the stand after the fire. They have told him that they suspect a propane tank explosion caused the blaze.

Toronto police said they were called to the fire around 8:43 p.m. Fire crews were able to knock down the blaze immediately. It is not known if winds brought by the storm were a factor in the fire, but police believed it originated in the propane tank.

The family is devastated, Wosnick said. But they are hoping to bounce back and open a new hotdog stand with the help of the campaign.

The fundraiser passed its $5,000 goal in less than 48 hours, raising more than $5,800 in donations from 405 people as of noon Tuesday.

Wosnick is overwhelmed but not surprised by the support from the university community.

“It’s a story of unity and a story of how university students were able to band together for a good cause,” said Wosnick, who added that the family is thankful for the help they’ve received.

A.J. Davidson was coming out of the library when he saw the hotdog stand was already on fire. He said by the time firefighters arrived the cart was destroyed.

“All of the hotdog guys around U of T work ridiculous hours and are always friendly,” said Davidson, who is a first-year life science student.

“I’m hopeful that his insurance or the GoFundMe will let him recover.”

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