One dead, two in critical condition after fire at Toronto Community Housing building

One dead, two in critical condition after fire at Toronto Community Housing building
By Alanna Rizza
Toronto Star
Link to article: One dead, two in critical condition after fire at Toronto Community Housing building

One person is dead and two others are in critical condition after a two-alarm fire at a lowrise building on Monday night.

Toronto Fire Service said the blaze began around 9:26 p.m. at a Toronto Community Housing building near Flemington Rd. and Allen Rd. It was upgraded to a two-alarm fire before it was knocked down around 10 p.m.

Cpt. David Eckerman said firefighters found three people in life-threatening condition inside a first floor unit and they were rushed to hospital.

Toronto paramedics said the victims are two brothers, 16 and 18-years-old and a woman in her 40s. It is currently unknown which person died in hospital, but officers have confirmed the three are a family.

The fire originated in the living room of a two bedroom unit, and was confined to that unit, according to William Hay, an officer with the Office of the Fire Marshall.

Although Hay said the amount of material objects consumed by the fire “wasn’t that severe,” he said there was a “very heavy layer of smoke and soot,” left inside the unit. This was described as a “little unusual,” and “likely from a smoldering fire,” though they are still looking into the origin of the blaze.

Toronto police initially received reports that the three were trapped in the building.

Toronto Fire Services Chief Matthew Pegg told reporters at the scene more than 10 fire trucks arrived and that shelter trucks were available for anyone who was displaced.

The Office of the Fire Marshall is continuing to investigate.

“Everything is on the table at this juncture,” said Hay.

At a morning news conference, Mayor John Tory expressed condolences to the families of the person killed in the blaze and to those injured.

Tory said he spoke to the fire chief this morning.

“He indicated to me that the building has last been inspected on Nov. 13, just a couple of weeks ago,” Tory said, adding that there will now be a “very thorough” investigation.

“I just wanted to express my concern that there had been such a fire and give my condolences to those who have lost loved ones or who have casualties that are still in hospital,” he said.

When asked if the scarcity of funds for TCH repairs could have played a factor in the fire, Tory said: “I’m confident that the kinds of repairs that are not left in question at all, because of funding or no funding, do not include fire safety measures. I think that the fire safety measures are being rigorously enforced to the point where we are doing an inspection of every Toronto Community Housing building once a year, and for that matter every highrise in Toronto once a year, and that is a standard that is not met or exceeded anywhere else in Canada.”

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