On June 29, a jury acquitted John Magno, 53, of a murder charge, but found him guilty of manslaughter and plotting to burn down the Woodbine Building Supply store. He will be sentenced in August.
In the early hours of Christmas Day, 2001, the 10,000 sq. ft. Danforth Building Supply at Danforth and Woodbine went up in smoke. Flames shot 200 feet into the air. The blaze was one of the worst in the city’s history, and it took 171 firefighters two days to get the six-alarm fire under control. They used 20,000 gallons of water a minute to try to douse the flames. The fire caused $4 million in damages, and residents from 50 nearby homes were evacuated. Danforth Avenue was re-opened days later.
The badly burned body of Tony Jarcevic, 22, was found by investigators on Jan. 9 while the site was being cleared. Sam Paskalis who staggered from the inferno, spent several months in a coma recovering from injuries.
It was later established that the two burn victims were among four paid arsonists. Ring leader Andrew Roks was found guilty on appeal of manslaughter and sentenced to six to 10 years for conspiracy to commit arson. Sam Paskalis and Sean McMaster were found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to seven and six years respectively. They testified at the trial of Magno, co-owner of the Woodbine Building Supply.
Prosecutors alleged that John Magno recruited the men, whom he met at Roks’ health club and tanning salon, to burn down the family business for the insurance money. The site would then be used to build condominiums.
The site at 2055 Danforth Ave. is currently ready for construction of a $42 million, 12-storey condo complex by JFC Construction, which is owned by the Magno family. Last year it received permission from the city to exceed current height restrictions.