London

Woman in critical condition after morning apartment fire

Fire crews were called to a walk-up apartment building off Wharncliffe Road at 8:30 a.m. and paramedics took one person to hospital.

Fire crews were called at 8:30 a.m. and encountered heavy smoke in one unit

Fire crews responded to the scene of a fire at 140 Langarth Street West on Wednesday morning. (Kate Dubinski/CBC News)

Emergency crews are investigating the cause of an apartment fire Wednesday morning that sent one woman to hospital in critical condition. 

The investigation is being conducted by the London Police Service, London Fire Department and the Ontario Fire Marshall.

Judy Whiteman was in her apartment before 8 o'clock when she heard the smoke alarm go off. 

"I looked out the door and it was black up the hallway. When I saw the black smoke coming from the next door down the hall, I got out of there," she said, huddled under a blanket at her neighbours house. 

"I got out. It was really black smoke. I couldn't believe my eyes."

Whiteman is one of several dozen residents who had to leave their units at 140 Langarth St. W..

Police said a female resident has life threatening injuries. 

'Zero visibility'

When fire crews arrived, they encountered heavy smoke in one unit on the second floor, said Platoon Chief Gary Mosburger. 

"We had heavy smoke conditions and zero visibility within that unit itself," Mosburger said. 

A burnt-out window at 140 Langarth Street West. (Kate Dubinski/CBC News)

Kathy McConkey lives across the street. She heard fire crews pulling up and went outside to give blankets and tea to residents stuck out in the cold.   

"I saw everyone standing outside so I asked if they needed blankets, offered some tea, and asked if anyone wanted to come in," McConkey said. 

Whiteman took her up on her offer. Other residents hunkered down in a city bus to keep warm. 

Whiteman said there was a fire in 2015 in the same building, on the ground level. 

The cause of the fire hasn't been determined and officials don't have a damage estimate yet. 

And he praised the residents for using smoke detectors.