orillia-fireseniors2-jan22-

Fire destoyed the Muskoka Heights Retirement Home in Orillia, Ont., on Jan 19, 2009. ((Orillia Today/Frank Matys))

The deaths of two elderly men this week in a fire at an Orillia retirement home were caused by smoke inhalation, the Ontario coroner's office says.

Robert McLean, 90, and Hugh Fleming, 85, died a short time after being rushed to hospital.

The retirement home where they lived, the Muskoka Height Retirement Home, caught fire early Monday morning.

According to the coroner's office, eight others from the retirement home remain in intensive care in various hospitals in southern Ontario. Earlier this week the number in critical condition had been listed as five.

Investigators from the Ontario Fire Marshal's office are trying to determine the cause of the fire but said earlier in the week that it may take a while since the home was badly damaged and many of the areas they need to examine are encased in a thick coat of ice.

The building that housed the retirement home at 327 Old Muskoka Road, is in a precarious state and officials are worried it could collapse.

The fire broke out at about 6 a.m. on Jan. 19.  Fire, police and ambulance crews rushed to the scene and managed to account for all of the 21 of the 23 residents who were in the retirement home at the time. But the two elderly men died from their injuries. 

Eleven other people were taken to hospital. Three were released and eight remain in critical care. 

The fire has raised the issue of sprinkler systems inside care facilities in Ontario. Under current legislation only newly built facilities are required to install sprinklers. 

The Muskoka Heights Retirement Home was more than 50 years old and did not have a sprinkler system.