4 killed in east-end Toronto house fire

Four people are dead after a blaze in a residential area of Toronto's east end, Toronto Fire said early Friday. 

2 other people in hospital, Toronto Fire says

High winds allowed the fire to jump at roof-level to at least one neighbouring home, Toronto Fire said. (Linda Ward/CBC)

Four people are dead and two others are in hospital after a blaze in a residential area of the city's east end, Toronto Fire said early Friday. 

Emergency crews were called to a two-storey home on Gainsborough Road, near Coxwell Avenue and Eastwood road in the Upper Beaches area, around 4:40 a.m., said Stephan Powell, district chief with Toronto Fire.

They arrived to find the second floor of the home fully engulfed in flames. A resident of the home was attempting to escape from a second-storey window at the time, Powell said.

Bystanders look on as firefighters work to put out the flames. Neighbouring homes were evacuated. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press)

Frigid temperatures created slippery and dangerous conditions for firefighters, Powell said, and high winds caused the fire to jump to at least one neighbouring residence. 

Fire officials initially said that five people were injured in the blaze, two critically so. Around 7:30 a.m., Fire Chief Jim Jessop confirmed at the scene that four people were dead and two others were in hospital.

One person was able to escape by jumping from an upstairs window. 

All four of the deceased were pulled from the home, with some pronounced dead at the scene and others in hospital, Jessop said. 

"Just a really tragic day," he added. 

Details on the deceased have yet to be released, but neighbours tell CBC Toronto a young woman, her elderly mother and her young son lived in the home.

Jessop was unable to comment on the condition of the two people in hospital and no further information about those who died was available. Toronto police are working to notify next of kin, he said.

Several firefighters were also injured during the operation, Jessop said. They were treated at the scene and are in stable condition.

"The good news is the firefighters have all been treated, they're not significant injuries," said Jessop. "They'll be back to work eventually."

Investigation begins

The cause of the fire is unknown. The Ontario Fire Marshal has been called in to assist with an investigation into the origins of the blaze. 

Toronto police tweeted that a number of major road closures remain in place near the scene of the fire. Gainsborough Road is closed in both directions, as well as parts of the intersections of Coxwell Avenue and Gerrard Street and Coxwell Avenue and Dundas Street.

Several firefighters were hurt, officials said. They were treated at the scene and are in stable condition. (@DerekCraiggers/Twitter)

Magdalena Dion was one of the people evacuated from a neighbouring home.

She said she and her tenants were awoken by firefighters banging on the door, telling them to get out.

"It's terrible, it's terrible," said Dion, describing one of the inhabitants of the home that caught fire as a single mom. 

"My worst fear right now is that the family is not alive," she said. 

Coun. Brad Bradford also released a statement Friday morning sending his "deepest condolences" to all those affected by the fire, saying he would share any details about community memorials once he has them. 


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