Fire officials say a west-end house was equipped with working smoke detectors at the time it caught on fire, killing a father and two of his children over the weekend.

Stuart Cameron, 44, and his five-year-old daughter Mackenzie and four-year-old son Arthur, were unable to escape the flames that engulfed his small home on Caledonia Road near St. Clair Avenue on Saturday.

His wife Loretta and their two-year-old daughter Tara managed to escape. They have been released from hospital with non life-threatening injuries and are staying with family members, according to authorities.

Friends and passersby have created a growing memorial outside the home by putting candles, flowers and stuffed animals on a snowbank near the site.

Neighbours who knew the family are still in shock over the tragedy.

"I saw an ambulance taking two bodies out of house, not a pleasing sight, especially when you know it's someone you see go by every day," said Danny Gayle. "It's sad."

Staff at Mackenzie's school described her as a sweet child and said there would be a special service to pay tribute to the little girl.

"She was the sweetest little red-head kid, big smile with big brown eyes," said a school caretaker named Jenny.

Fire officials said it could take weeks before the cause of the fire is determined. However, he said this tragedy should serve as a reminder to families to develop an escape plan in case of a fire.

He said working smoke detectors are key to surviving a fire and credited the Camerons' fire alarm with likely saving the mother and child.

"I repeat over and over, you've got to have a plan and you've got to make sure you have a working smoke alarm in your home and you have to know what you will do in the event there is a fire in your home," said Mike Potvin with the Ontario Fire Marshal's Office. "If there's a fire, what will you do and how will you get out safely?"

Potvin said people need to be mindful of fire hazards such as extension chords, cigarettes and candles.

With a report from CTV Toronto's Naomi Parness