Canada Mother and her 2 children among 4 dead in 'horrific' Oshawa house fire

01:24  09 january  2018
01:24  09 january  2018 Source:   cbc.ca

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a group of people riding on the back of a truck: Two adults and two children are dead following a fire at a rooming house in Oshawa, Ont., that Mayor John Henry says is 'one of the worst events' the city has experienced in a long time.© Provided by Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Two adults and two children are dead following a fire at a rooming house in Oshawa, Ont., that Mayor John Henry says is 'one of the worst events' the city has experienced in a long time.

Two adults and two children are dead after a fire tore through a multi-resident dwelling in Oshawa, Ont., early Monday in what officials are now calling "one of the worst events" the city has experienced in years.

The blaze broke out shortly after 8 a.m. ET at the house on Centre Street North and Colborne Street West, near Bond and Simcoe streets, Oshawa Fire Services said.

When crews arrived on scene, Chief Derrick Clark said they encountered "heavy fire and heavy smoke conditions" and a snowstorm descending on the area. Environment Canada expects 10 centimetres of snow to fall throughout the day.

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The winter weather made for "very difficult conditions, both for crews driving en route here, as well as fighting this fire," Clark added.

'Severe fire conditions'

Fire crews initially started removing multiple people who were trapped inside the two-storey residence, but were forced to vacate the building due to "severe fire conditions that worsened."

a house that has a sign on the side of a building: Chief Derrick Clark estimates the fire caused 'extensive damage' to the rooming house.© Provided by Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Chief Derrick Clark estimates the fire caused 'extensive damage' to the rooming house.

"Firefighters made several heroic attempts to get in and to get to the upper levels," Clark told reporters Monday afternoon.

"They fought their way up through intense heat and smoke conditions. Even fire was around them at all times."

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Crews extinguished the flames from outside the building before searching for the remaining residents, Clark explained. He estimates around 11 people lived in the two-storey home.

3 victims remain inside home

A woman, man and girl were trapped inside the house, and believed to be dead, said Clark. Firefighters are working to remove their bodies on the upper and lower levels of the home so they can be taken to the coroner's office for a post-mortem evaluation that will determine their cause of death.

A fourth victim, a boy, was pulled from inside the home and rushed to hospital where he later died of his injuries. His cause of death has not yet been released.

"This is a very tragic event," said Clark.

Their identities also haven't been released at this time, while Durham Regional Police contact next of kin. The relationships between the victims is still unclear.

a man wearing a hat: Oshawa fire Chief Derrick Clark, right, told reporters a news conference Monday morning that Ontario's Office of the Fire Marshal has been called to investigate the cause of the fire.© Provided by Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Oshawa fire Chief Derrick Clark, right, told reporters a news conference Monday morning that Ontario's Office of the Fire Marshal has been called to investigate the cause of the fire.

"I'd like to extend our thoughts and prayers to the families involved," said Oshawa Mayor John Henry.

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"It's always nasty when there's a fire and it's always upsetting when there's a loss of life. To the families, we pass on our deepest sympathies."

Three other residents were taken to hospital where they were treated for smoke inhalation and cuts from broken glass, according to Clark. There is no update on their current conditions.

"We've had some major industrial fires over the years, but in my recollection, this would be one of the worst events we've had in a long time," Henry said.

Fire marshal investigates

Ontario Fire Marshal Ross Nichols and two investigators from the Office of the Ontario Fire Marshal will probe the cause of the fire. The provincial agency is called on to investigate any fire that results in fatality, serious injuries or involves over $500,000 worth of loss.

Clark anticipates crews will remain on scene for up to five days.

a group of people standing next to a truck: Durham Regional Police are assisting with Oshawa Fire Services and Ontario's Office of the Fire Marshal after 'heavy' flames ripped through the multi-unit residence at Centre Street North and Colborne Street West.© Provided by Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Durham Regional Police are assisting with Oshawa Fire Services and Ontario's Office of the Fire Marshal after 'heavy' flames ripped through the multi-unit residence at Centre Street North and Colborne Street West.

It's unclear where the blaze started and if there were working smoke alarms, Clark said. He noted the rear of the house seemed to suffer the most extensive damage.

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"I think the message here is that no matter what dwelling you live in, if you have working smoke alarms that's the key," he said.

Initial reports also indicated that an explosion had occurred, but officials have yet to confirm this.

Witnesses told CBC Toronto they heard a sharp bang before the fire broke out.

"We originally thought it was a car accident," said William McCarthy who lives next door.

"We came out and saw the flames ... it instantly took up the back corner of the house. It took maybe five seconds."

Another neighbour, Laura Green, described the blaze as "horrific" and said, "It breaks my heart, especially for the kids."

Green claims she saw residents running from the home.

"You could see the flames behind them, you could hear them yelling, 'Get out, get out,'" she said.

Victims killed in 'horrific' Highway 401 crash had run-ins with law .
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