Secondary investigation underway after deadly house fire in Scarborough

Secondary investigation underway after deadly house fire in Scarborough
CP24

Toronto Fire has launched an investigation into five properties owned by the same person who owned the Scarborough home where a massive fire killed a young student on Wednesday morning.

Police were called to the detached house at 10 Haida Court, near Morningside Avenue and Ellesmere Road, shortly before 2:30 a.m. When crews arrived, they encountered heavy flames and smoke.

Three people living in the house escaped with injuries. A fourth occupant, 18-year-old University of Toronto Scarborough student Helen Guo, was killed. Her body was recovered from a second-floor bedroom.

In a phone interview with CP24.com on Friday, Deputy Fire Chief Jim Jessop said crews began looking into other properties that were owned by the same landlord on Wednesday. Five of those homes were being “operated as student rooming houses,” according to Jessop, and an investigation was launched.

As of Friday afternoon, inspections were still underway.

Jessop was not able to confirm the addresses of the homes under investigation or the owner’s name.

Toronto Municipal Licensing and Standards is also involved.

Mark Sraga, the director of Investigation Services for the city confirmed to CP24 that rooming houses are not permitted under the zoning bylaw in the area.

Tenants’ fates remain uncertain

According to media reports, tenants living in several of the homes under investigation are being evicted by the landlord.

Jessop could not confirm that, but did say Toronto Fire has not issued any eviction notices. The department does have the authority to do so if any serious safety issues are noted.

Jessop expects to have the results of the inspections by next week. “If Toronto Fire notes violations, Fire Protection and Prevention Act charges would be laid,” he said.

Investigation into 10 Haida Court fire

The investigation into the deadly fire at 10 Haida Court is being conducted by Toronto Fire Services, Toronto police, and the Ontario Fire Marshall.

Jessop says that at this point, the property has not been classified as rooming house.

“All we can say ... is that at 2:30 a.m., there were four students there,” he said.

Of the three occupants who were injured, two have been released. The third, a female, remains in hospital with second and third degree burns.

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