A hot dog stand on Queen Street in Toronto. RICHARD HSU/FLICKR BY CC

Hungry students leaving Robarts Library late last Friday night were met with an unpleasant shock when the hot dog cart outside of the library caught fire. The incident occurred around 11:30 pm and was highly destructive.

Richard Zhou, a second-year student in actuarial science and economics, witnessed the fire as he came out of Robarts. According to Zhou, the fire was large and came dangerously close to surrounding vehicles. “The cars would have exploded if it was a bit closer,” says Zhou.

Zhou noticed that the day after the fire, all that was left of the hot dog stand was a stove.

As of press time, the cart has not been replaced.

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The cart on fire.

Some students are reacting to the incident with a benevolent call to action. Nish Chankar, a first-year student at Trinity College, started a crowdfunding page called “Save U of T Robarts Hot Dog Man” on the website gofundme.com.

The description on the page reads: “This hot dog cart has been a staple of UofT campus life for decades. Please donate what you can to help save a prominent University landmark!” The page has raised over $200.

Chankar states that the hot dog cart owner is part of U of T, and that it is a sign of community engagement that students are contributing.

“Thousands of us have stayed in Robarts, studying for hours, and have emerged to see that the only food available is from the 24hr hot dog stand right outside. This hot dog man is a member of our community, and the least we can do is chip in a little to put a smile on his face,” Chankar says.

Other students agree that the for-profit hot dog stand carries sentimental value. Phil Kukulak, a third-year computer science student, says that many students rely on the business. “I think many took the hot dog stand for granted and only now do some of them realize how much they relied on him,” he says.

Chankar says that she plans on tracking down the hot dog vendor to give him the proceeds from the fundraiser. She adds that, though the funds will not be enough to purchase a new cart, the gesture is a good one.

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