More than 1,500 residents who have been displaced from a highrise in the St. James Town may not be able to return to their home for months, Toronto’s fire chief said.

Residents of a building on Parliament Street, near St. James Avenue, were evacuated on Tuesday after black smoke was seen erupting from an electrical box in the basement and floating through the hallways. The cause of the six-alarm fire was determined to be a major failure in the building’s electrical distribution system.

“As a result of that failure and the resulting fire, there has been significant and major damage to the building’s electrical distribution system. This will require very significant repairs before the building is able to be reoccupied,” Fire Chief Matthew Pegg said at a news conference Thursday. “In my experience, I can say that damage of this significance to the building’s electrical distribution system often requires several months for the repairs to be completed.”

As of Wednesday, all displaced tenants have found temporary accommodations elsewhere, Toronto Mayor John Tory said at the news conference. The city has secured 230 hotel rooms and home-share units for those who were staying at two community centres in the area. He thanked a number of hotel managers and Airbnb for providing accommodations within the Greater Toronto Area.

As of Tuesday evening, the only hotel rooms available were in Brampton or Guelph.

Tory said that the Regent Park Community Centre at 402 Shuter Street will remain open Thursday night in case there are residents who still need shelter. Food and transit vouches will also be available.

“We expect this may be a long process. We know that people’s lives have already been disrupted in a real way and will likely be disrupted for a long time to come.”

Tory said he has assembled a group of senior officials under the city manager along with the building owner and property manager to help come up with long-term housing solutions for the tenants. In a statement released Wednesday, the property managers for the building said they were “concerned, shocked and saddened” by the fire. The property owner said that the tenants’ rent will be covered for the duration of the time they are displaced.

“While this seems obvious to all of us, I can assure you it was something that the tenants were worried about because the first of the month is close at hand,” Tory said.

Toronto Fire expects to conclude their operations by Wednesday evening and will turn care of the building back to the owner, who will begin to look into damage assessment and repair, Pegg said.

Pegg said that while the damage to the building’s electrical distribution system is significant, there does not appear to be much damage to individual apartment units.

The city is asking residents who have found accommodations to call 1-855-797-8875 to update their status. Hotels or home-sharing units that have rooms available are being asked to call the same number.