Mississauga townhouse fire injures 2 firefighters, damages 12 units

An early morning townhouse complex fire in Mississauga has slightly injured two firefighters, displaced at least 25 people and damaged 12 units, a fire official says.

About 25 people have been displaced by townhouse complex fire on Bloor Street near Dixie Road

Fire crews battle a large fire at a townhouse complex in Mississauga early Saturday. (Tony Smyth/CBC)

An early morning townhouse complex fire in Mississauga has injured two firefighters, displaced at least 25 people and damaged at least 12 units, a fire official says.

Platoon Chief Alan Hills, of Mississauga Fire and Emergency Services, said crews were called to 1560 Bloor St., near Havenwood Drive, east of Dixie Road, at 2:13 a.m. on Saturday for a report of a townhouse unit on fire.

One firefighter suffered heat exhaustion, while the other suffered a leg injury. Both were transported by paramedics to a local hospital, where they were treated and released.

No residents were injured in the blaze.

Peel Regional Paramedic Services said in a tweet that it assessed four patients in all but only two were taken to hospital. Two were residents, Hills said. 
Two firefighters suffered minor injuries in this early morning blaze at a townhouse complex. (Tony Smyth/CBC)

According to Peel Regional Police, officers were called to the complex on Saturday hours before the fire broke out for a 'disturbance.'

Const. Bancroft Wright said he could not say whether the call had anything to do with the fire.

"That we don't know and we wouldn't speculate on that," Wright said Saturday.

When fire crews arrived at the scene, Hills said they found large flames shooting out of the lower floors of a middle unit in the complex. The flames were extending to the roof.

"Primarily, the fire was in the roof of this building," he said. "Fire got up right inside the attic spaces and ran across the unit and that's why there were 10 units involved."

All residents of the units were able to get out safely, he said. 

Hills said "quick thinking" residents smelled smoke, responded to fire alarms and followed their fire evacuation plans. He said the community is tightly knit and residents helped to get other residents out of their units.

The complex, Bloor and Havenwood Townhomes, was build in the 1970s. 
A firefighter on a crane douses water on the townhouse complex fire. (Tony Smyth/CBC)

"The residents came out of their units, even though they were in their pyjamas and in their night clothing," he said.

"They knew, when the smoke alarm goes, it's time to exit and get out and then count family members at a meeting place outside."

A Mississauga transit articulated bus was parked in the area to provide shelter for the displaced residents. About 25 people were on the bus as the fire was being fought, he said.

"We are working with them to be able to find friends or relatives that they can stay with," Hills said.

The residents who haven't made their own arrangements are currently staying at Burnhamthorpe Community Centre, he said. The units that are damaged need repair and it will "take some time" before residents will be allowed to return.

Resident heard screaming

Martha Abu-Boateng, a resident of a unit in the complex, said she was watching a movie when she heard commotion. 
Martha Abu-Boateng, a resident of a unit in the complex, said she heard commotion in the middle of the night but didn't want to leave until she knew what was going on. (Tony Smyth/CBC)

"I heard screaming. I heard noise. People were running. I was just thinking that there's probably a fight or somebody's having an argument outside. Until I heard a bang on my door, I was like, oh hell, no, I'm not opening the door," she said.

"So I ran upstairs. I was trying to figure out what was going on. People were just banging on my door," she said.

Her sister suggested they call 911 and the 911 operator, after learning their address, told them to leave the unit immediately. At that point, police were already at the door.

"When I came out of the house and I turned and looked at the fire, all we could do is just cry," she said. "At the end of the day, I'm just happy for our lives, that we're at least out of the house and everybody is safe in our home."

Fire described as 'significant'

Hills said the fire was brought under control at 5:00 a.m. and fully extinguished by 6:30 a.m.
A Mississauga fire official says the fire was primarily in the roof of the building. (Tony Smyth/CBC)

He described the blaze as a "large loss fire" and said an estimate of the damage was not available.

"At this time, I can't put a dollar value on that, but it is a significant fire," he said.

About three units have been severely damaged, while at least seven units have sustained water damage. The unit in which the fire began is gutted with its contents destroyed.

About 65 firefighters, with 15 fire trucks and 3 command officers, responded to the call at the peak of the fire. Hills said about 16 firefighters were still on the scene at 10:30 a.m. and crews are expected to remain there until the afternoon.

Ontario's Office of the Fire Marshal has been called to the scene to investigate given the amount of damage.

The cause of the fire has not yet been determined.

With files from Tony Smyth