Toronto

Helen Guo identified as woman killed in Scarborough house fire

18-year-old Helen Guo came from China to study at University of Toronto's Scarborough campus.

The 18-year-old came from China to study at University of Toronto's Scarborough campus

Helen Guo was an undergraduate student from China studying at the University of Toronto's Scarborough campus. (Facebook)

The international student killed in a Scarborough rooming house fire on Wednesday has been identified by close friends as Helen Guo.

Guo, 18, came from China to study at the University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC.)

She died early Wednesday morning after the house she shared with other international students caught fire. 

"She was really friendly," remembered Vivian Meng, who met Guo at Green Path, a 12-week University of Toronto program that helps undergraduate students from China adjust to academic life in Canada.

"This is a deep tragedy and we need to know what happened," said Toronto Fire Chief Matthew Pegg on Wednesday. (Tony Smyth/CBC)

Guo and Meng spent last summer travelling together before the fall semester started, and spent a month visiting Canadian cities.

"Every morning [on the trip] she'd cook us breakfast," Meng remembered.

3 other occupants escaped

Calls came into emergency crews at around 2:30 a.m. on Wednesday morning about a fire at a house on Haida Court near Ellesmere Road and Military Trail.

The other three occupants, who are also U of T students, managed to escape, one by jumping out of a second story window.

Neighbour Loick Masunda, also a student, raced to the house when he saw the smoke on Wednesday morning and pulled a woman from the burning house.

When flames broke out at a Scarborough home Wednesday morning, Loick Masunda rushed over to and smashed a window, pulling a woman out from inside. (CBC)

Masunda said it was "heartbreaking" to learn that Guo was still inside while he was rescuing another occupant. "My heart goes out to her family," he said.

The university is offering support to students affected by the incident and shared condolences for the victim's family. 

"This is a terrible tragedy," said Bruce Kidd, vice president and principal of UTSC, in a statement.

"The thoughts of the entire campus community are with the family of the student who was killed in the fire and with the three other students who were in the house," he said.

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