Toronto Firefighters performed five rescues Friday during a two-alarm early morning apartment building fire in Scarborough’s Birch Cliff neighbourhood.
The fire broke out around 5:30 a.m. in a ground-floor apartment at the rear of the 12-unit Kingston Road lowrise between Warden Avenue and Manderley Drive.
Residents took shelter in a TTC bus while 45 firefighters battled the blaze. The fire, which burned through the ceiling of the apartment above it, was put out in about an hour.
Seven residents were taken to hospital, including four who were treated for serious injuries including smoke inhalation. None of the injuries were life threatening, Cpt. Mike Strapko said later.
The cause of the $250,000 blaze was still undetermined Friday afternoon and it was not known if the ground-floor unit had a working smoke alarm; it could be buried in the rubble of the collapsed ceiling, Strapko said.
One person had to be rescued by firefighters with a ground ladder from the third floor at the rear of the building, while four other rescues were performed inside, he added.
In all, five lives were saved, said Strapko, a public information officer for Toronto Fire Services. “That’s the main thing.”
Such incidents should reinforce for residents the value of having working smoke detectors in their homes, and of families practicing escape routes from different rooms in case a fire occurs, Strapko said.
“It’s a good family exercise and could save their lives.” He added when leaving a room containing a fire it is important to close doors as you escape so the smoke cannot fill an apartment hallway, endangering others trying to leave.