Woman in critical condition after west-end house fire
Published Wednesday, November 20, 2013 6:37AM EST Last Updated Wednesday, November 20, 2013 10:06AM EST
A 24-year-old woman is clinging to life in hospital after she was rescued from a burning house in Toronto’s west end early Wednesday morning.
The woman was without vital signs when firefighters pulled her from the basement of the Sheridan Avenue home, near College and Dufferin streets, at about 1:40 a.m.
Eight people live in the house, which is divided into four apartments, and everyone else was able to escape without serious injury.
Toronto Fire Services district chief Neil Gallagher said firefighters rushed into the house but were unable to find an entrance to the basement, where the fire was burning.
Crews went back outside and entered the basement from an exterior entrance.
When they got downstairs, they encountered “an extremely hot basement fire,” Gallagher said.
Firefighters knocked in the door to the woman’s apartment and carried her outside.
Paramedics were able to revive the woman at the scene before she was rushed to hospital in critical condition, a Toronto EMS spokesperson told CP24.
The woman was taken to Toronto Western Hospital and then transferred to a burn unit at Sunnybrook hospital, where she is receiving treatment for burns to about 70 per cent of her body, CP24's Cam Woolley reported.
Investigators do not believe the basement suite meets legal requirements.
The house has four kitchens on one electrical service and there is only one exit from the basement when there should be two, a fire spokesman told CP24.
Gallagher said there were smoke alarms in the house but they were not linked.
A tenant who lives above the basement told firefighters he heard a faint noise in the basement and called 911 after he smelled smoke, Gallagher told CP24.
“If one goes off they should all go off and wake up all the tenants,” Gallagher said. “That was not the case here.”
Outside the house, there are metal security bars over at least one basement window, preventing anyone from entering or escaping.
Gallagher said the blaze was contained to the basement but it spread into the walls, adding another hour to the firefighting effort.
The cause of the fire is under investigation. The damage is estimated at $250,000.
With files from CP24 reporter Cam Woolley
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