Investigators say that a Good Samaritan started knocking on doors Tuesday evening to notify tenants of smoke emitting from a Parkdale building prior to emergency crews arriving on the scene of a fatal fire.

The fire broke out around 10 p.m. at a home near Roncesvalles Avenue and Marion Street. Police told CTV News Toronto that someone aboard a streetcar on Roncesvalles Avenue noticed the smoke and ran to the home. The Good Samaritan proceeded to knock on the doors of the building, alerting residents to the blaze.

Toronto Fire said that crews spotted heavy smoke when they arrived at the scene. The fire was located in a basement apartment and did not spread to the rest of the house, an investigator with the Ontario Fire Marshal’s office said.

“They were able to … contain and control and suppress the fire very quickly. So that’s good news,” said Toronto Fire Chief Matthew Pegg. “Unfortunately, in the course of the search and rescue operations, we located one occupant in the building. That occupant has now been confirmed to be deceased.”

None of the other occupants of the building were injured in the fire.

Brian McGuinness, who lives in a basement unit in the rooming house, told CTV News Toronto that when his apartment started filling up with smoke, he ran to his neighbours’ door.

“When I opened the door, the heat that came out of that place and the smoke that came out almost knocked me over, so I couldn’t enter to save his life,” he said. “It was impossible.

McGuinness ran back to his unit, which he said was filled with thick grey smoke, and called 911. He then went upstairs to try and notify the other residents of the building.

“I went upstairs to knock on peoples’ doors but the smoke had infiltrated the place too badly that, I couldn’t’ even go up the stairs,” he said. “It was that bad.”

McGuinness said there were three basement units in the building, but only he and his friend who lived next door – who he identified as TJ—were home at the time of the fire.

“I’m pretty shocked still,” he said. “I miss him. He’s a good guy. We’re good friends.”

The Office of the Fire Marshal has been called in to investigate the cause of the fire.

With files from CTV News Toronto's Jancie Golding