TORONTO -- As small groups of residents re-entered 235 Gosford Boulevard on Saturday, the frustration that had been building since a highrise fire forced them from their homes was clear.

“We’re feeling bad,” one tenant said simply. “We don’t know how long it’s going to take.”

A few tenants were permitted access to their units Saturday in order to collect belongings from their units. Some 700 residents were evacuated on Nov. 15 after a five-alarm blaze ripped through parts of the building, leaving one man dead.

apartment fire

“It’s very difficult to leave our apartment, because you have eight years of living here,” tenant William Kharmo told CTV News Toronto.

He and his wife Janet Hormiz had to climb 14 storeys to their unit, without a working elevator, to retrieve warm clothing and her medication.

“It’s very hard, very high,” Hormiz said. “I have to go up and down, carry too many things.”

Other tenants entered the building prepared with garbage and duffel bags.

Some residents were asked to book half-hour windows to retrieve their necessities, needing to wear hard hits inside the premises. Other tenants were given day passes to enter their units between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.

Fire, Gosford

The Ontario Fire Marshall has reported that the blaze broke out in the bedroom of an eight-floor unit, but has not released an exact cause of the fire.

It is not yet clear when residents will be allowed to return to their homes.