Girl in 'serious but stable' condition after parents, sister die in Brampton house fire
'It's tragic, certainly — the number of people who have died here,' fire chief says after overnight blaze
A young girl is in "serious but stable" condition with third-degree burns after an overnight fire tore through a family home in Brampton, Ont., killing her parents and older sister. A 19-year-old man staying in the home's basement said he ran upstairs to try to help, and ended up rescuing the girl.
The survivor is nine-year-old Zoya Kapadia, next-door neighbour Amandeep Hazra confirmed to CBC News.
Family and friends told CBC Toronto that the girl's mother, father and teenage sister all died in their beds. Police said Kapadia was taken to the Hospital for Sick Children with severe burns and smoke inhalation.
"She is in serious but stable condition," said Const. Harinder Sohi, of Peel police. "She's alert and conscious."
Sohi said the burns were restricted to the girl's hands and that she won't be released from hospital today.
Nineteen-year-old Sheldon Teague told CBC News he was staying with a friend who was renting a basement apartment in the house when it caught fire. He said he heard screaming from upstairs at around 3:30 a.m. and smelled smoke.
"As soon as I stepped out I could see fire coming from the upper bedroom. I went around to the front, kicked in the door, and the whole house was pretty much completely engulfed in flames," he said.
"I started yelling for someone to come to me, because I could still hear them screaming, and I told them to come towards my voice."
Teague said he then went back downstairs, took his friend's phone to use as a flashlight, and returned upstairs to use the light to rescue the occupants. He described helping Zoya Kapadia escape the flames.
"She made it about half way down the hallway, I believe, and then I could start to make out her legs so I just ran towards her, picked her up, brought her outside."
Teague said he then went back inside to try and help the other occupants escape, but the front of the house was "completely covered in smoke and I couldn't make it through."
Teague continued shouting for the occupants to come towards his voice, he said, at which point firefighters arrived.
Mother just celebrated birthday
Several people have identified the mother who died in the fire as Jyoti Kapadia, who worked for Rogers in Brampton. Friends say she had just celebrated her 45th birthday on Monday.
The older daughter was 18-year-old Amina Kapadia, who was described by a friend as a university student and talented artist.
"She was really smart and she was really sweet — and so was her mom," Nicole Chevolleau told CBC Toronto. "I still can't process it."
The father who died in the fire was Ifdikhar Niazi, according to Mohammad Azam, who said they used to work together in the construction industry.
"I'm shocked, honestly, I'm very shocked," said Niazi's friend Syed Mehmood, who knew him for nine years.
He said the community had lost a "great, great person."
"Loving, caring, very, very good, very awesome. Very awesome guy, honestly."
Mehmood said Niazi's family had no relatives in Canada, but that a relative was on the way to Canada from Pakistan to help take care of Niazi's surviving daughter.
Peel Regional Police were called shortly after 4 a.m. after flames broke out at the semi-detached home on Madison Street, near Dixie Road and Bovaird Drive East.
"It's tragic, certainly — the number of people who have died here," said Brampton Fire Chief Michael Clark, who was at the scene Tuesday morning.
It took fire crews about 10 minutes to get the blaze under control.
Fire crews didn't hear smoke alarms
Clark said the firefighters didn't report hearing any working smoke alarms.
"I'm told there was a basement tenant who went upstairs and rescued the young female," he said, later adding the tenant came out and kicked the door in to save the girl.
The fire started in the main floor living room, said Richard Derstroff, with the Office of the Fire Marshal.
Two bodies have been removed from the home, with a third body to be removed later, he said.
The cause of the fire is still being investigated.
With files from Linda Ward and Chris Glover