Toronto Fire Services confirms that one person is dead and three others are seriously injured after a two-alarm house fire in Scarborough Tuesday morning.
One of the three people injured is in life-threatening condition.
Paramedics say a number of victims suffered smoke inhalation and burns. All of the victims are adults.
Police say children were in the house at the time, but were able to escape safely.
Two pet dogs died in the blaze, while a number of other pets were rescued from the home.
Fire officials say the flames started in the basement of the home on Birkdale Road near Pomeroy Street around 6:25 a.m.
Crews arrived to find thick black smoke and heavy flames.
"A number got out on their own, but firefighters had to do a number of rescues on people and their pets," says Toronto Fire Capt. Mike Strapko.
12 fire trucks and 45 firefighters responded to the blaze.
The fire also spread to a neighbouring home. The family living there was able to make it out safely.
"I saw thick black smoke. I said 'evacuate, evacuate,' to my family, to my wife and she took the kids and went out downstairs to the basement," said a neighbour who did not want to be identified.
He called 911 once he realized there was a fire.
"I said 'please come as soon as possible because we have five kids in the house,'" he said.
Crews were able to knock down the fire just after 6:40 a.m., rescuing multiple people and a number of pets from the home.
The Ontario Fire Marshal has been called in to investigate.
Part of the investigation will focus on whether the house was equipped with working smoke alarms.
"People have to make sure that they have working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms because in this case, the fire was going pretty strong," Strapko says.
"That will be one of the key things we're looking at, to see whether or not there were working smoke alarms in there because people should have a much better chance to get out of a house fire if they have working smoke alarms."