3 children found dead in Brampton, Ont., townhouse fire
Children aged 9, 12 and 15 rushed to hospital with critical injuries, later pronounced dead
Three children are dead after a fire engulfed a townhouse in Brampton, Ont., on Thursday, officials say.
According to Peel Regional Police, emergency crews were called about a residence in the area of Torbram Road and Clark Boulevard, where a fire was raging at about 9:11 a.m. ET.
Emergency officials have not released the identities of the victims but said they were aged nine, 12 and 15. Brampton is a city of about 669,900 people, located northwest of Toronto.
The 911 call came from one of the children inside the house, according to Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown. He said police believe the children were related but don't yet know if they were all siblings.
Brampton Fire Chief Bill Boyes said firefighters encountered heavy flames and smoke when they arrived at the scene. The three children were pulled from the home and rushed to hospital, but they were later pronounced dead.
"This is a tragic day, to have three young children perish in a fire, it's absolutely horrible," Boyes said.
"My heart goes out to the parents, the family and the friends of those three individuals."
One firefighter also sustained minor injuries but wasn't taken to hospital, officials say.
Boyes said fire crews were still dousing hot spots after the victims were pulled from the home. It's too early to say what caused the fire, he said, and noted that the Office of the Ontario Fire Marshal will be investigating.
No adults were home at the time. Peel Regional Police Const. Akhil Mooken told CBC News that the children's mother was taking a younger child to school when the fire occurred.
"I can't begin to imagine what she's feeling at this point. She lost three of her children," he said. "As a parent myself, of two children, I can't begin to imagine the heartache that she's going through."
Mooken said he expects the investigation to take several days.
'It's a very tough day'
Boyes also said he wanted to acknowledge the heroic actions of the firefighters who tried to save the children.
"I spoke to them. It's a very tough day for them, and they did absolutely everything they could," he said.
The mayor said it was a "devastating" day for the community.
"Words don't describe the enormity of the loss when you hear about three children dying," Brown said. "It leaves you numb."
He said the city has offered to provide support to the family and is waiting to hear from them about what they need.
"I should also mention this has been quite devastating for our first responders, to get a 911 call from a child in the house pleading for help and not being able to save them," he said.
"We had one firefighter who was injured trying to gain entry into the house. He put his own life at risk trying to save these children. But the fire engulfed the house just too quickly."
Ontario Premier Doug Ford also extended his condolences.
"My heart just breaks for the family and the whole community," Ford said at a Thursday morning news conference.
"What a tragedy it is."