3 dead, 3 treated in hospital in overnight house fire in Hamilton

Three people are dead and three others were taken to hospital after a house fire in Hamilton on Saturday night.

1 of those hospitalized attempted to rescue people trapped in house

Three people are dead and three others were taken to hospital after a house fire in Hamilton on Saturday night.

The home, on Grenfell Street in the city's east end, is a rooming house that was home to five tenants, say neighbours. 

The Hamilton Fire Department said there were five people in the home at the time. Of the three sent to hospital, two were tenants of the building, while the third was Jonathan Davidson, one of a number of people who rushed to the burning home to try to help.

At Davidson's urging, one of the tenants, a woman, jumped from an upper-storey window to escape the fire.

They say she suffered injuries in the fall, but is one of the two survivors now in hospital.

On Sunday morning, Hamilton police said two of those sent to hospital remain there.

The total number of fire deaths in Hamilton in 2016 has now reached 11. All were fires at residential homes.

Kyle Hicks, an area resident, said he saw the fire Saturday night engulfing the back of the home.

Firefighters received a report of the fire at about 11:25 p.m. ET.

The fire department said the blaze was "well involved" when firefighters arrived, with heavy smoke billowing out of the front of the house and flames visible at the rear.

Claudio Mostacci, public information officer for the fire department, confirmed there were three fatalities. He said firefighters saw people coming out of the home and were told there were people inside.

The fire at 191 Grenfell St. engulfed the rear side of the home. (Kyle Hicks)

"Crews immediately went inside to do their search and rescue. They did encounter additional individuals inside," he said.

"When we arrived on [the] scene, a neighbour had gone inside the building to assist, to try to get people out, but was not successful in getting to the people upstairs," Mostacci said.

By 11:45 p.m., flames were no longer visible from the street, but thick smoke still blanketed the area. Mostacci said the flames were extinguished "very quickly" after their arrival.

On Sunday, the Office of the Ontario Fire Marshal said investigators found a smoke alarm in the house, but haven't determined yet if it was functioning.

Davidson, who rushed into the home to help rescue people, told CBC that when he was inside, he didn't hear an alarm going off, but that the fire was very loud.

Belinda Richard, who lives near the house on Grenfell Street, says she noticed flashing lights from her bedroom window shortly after 11 p.m. Saturday.

She says she rushed outside and noticed flames and smoke billowing from the back of the house.

Richard, who did not know the people living there, says, as crews were fighting the blaze, the house was surrounded by police officers, neighbours and reporters.

She adds that police had to set up a wider perimeter around the house to keep onlookers back.

"It was chaos," she says of the scene. "I have never seen so many police officers, fire trucks and ambulances all in one spot.

Damage to the home is estimated at $260,000. 

Claudio Mostacci, public information officer for the Hamilton Fire Department, says a neighbour who went inside the house to try to get people out is among those taken to hospital. (Andrew Collins/CBC)
Hamilton firefighters at the scene of a fatal fire on Saturday night. Three people were confirmed dead in the blaze. Three others, including a neighbour, were taken to hospital. (Andrew Collins/CBC)

With files from Canadian Press