Woman critically injured in five-alarm blaze that ravaged TCHC seniors highrise
Toronto Sun

A woman is fighting for her life and another resident was injured in a five-alarm blaze that ripped through a Toronto Community Housing seniors’ apartment building in North York Thursday night.

First responders were called to the 14-storey highrise at 6250 Bathurst St. — near Steeles Ave. — just before 8:30 p.m. They found flames and smoke filling the building.

“In these types of fires, we are fighting that fire from the inside, so our firefighters are literally walking into a chimney right now,” Acting Fire Chief Jim Jessop told reporters at the scene.

“Close your eyes and think of the heat and the smoke coming out of a fire in a chimney. That’s exactly what our staff had to fight their way through to knock the fire down and to commence their searches.”

A woman, believed to be in her 70s, was rescued by firefighters from her fifth-floor balcony and brought to the ground using a fire truck ladder. Paramedics performed CPR and she was rushed to a trauma centre in critical condition.

Her current status is unknown. Information about the other injured residents also was not available.

Jessop said the cause and origin of the fire are under investigation.

Two firefighters were taken to hospital, District Chief Stephan Powell said Friday afternoon.

The fire displaced 29 tenants from the entire fifth floor, TCHC confirmed in a statement Friday. The housing authority said it offered alternative accommodations, including hotel rooms, to affected tenants, but most chose to stay with family and friends.

“The building’s fire alarm and other life safety systems were fully operational at the time of the fire. We have no information about the cause of the fire,” TCHC said.

“The unit where the fire started sustained major damage and is uninhabitable. As the fire investigation is ongoing, TCHC has been unable to access the fifth floor to determine the condition of the other units.”

TCHC staff were deployed Friday to support tenants, restore elevator service and hot water at the building, reset the fire panel and inspect the building’s fire life safety systems. Clean-up crews were also at the building, which has 389 rent-geared-to-income units.

On Nov. 30, a woman died after a fire broke out on the seventh floor at TCHC seniors building in Etobicoke.

“There are no sprinklers in the individual units. Smoke alarms, definitely,” Toronto Fire Platoon Chief of the West Command Chris Bertram previously told the Sun at the scene

The Ontario Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating that incident.

<back to Headlines