Toronto Fire Chief Matthew Pegg is reminding residents about general fire safety in the wake of a house fire in Etobicoke Tuesday that claimed the life of an elderly woman.

The fire broke out at a home on Rathburn Road, near The East Mall, on Tuesday evening.

Firefighters responded and found a woman in the basement. She was rushed to hospital, but died of her injuries.

The cause and circumstances surrounding the fire have not yet been determined, but Pegg said Wednesday that the tragic incident should serve as a reminder to everyone to take proper fire safety precautions at home.

“The two leading causes of fire in Toronto are unattended cooking and careless smoking,” Pegg said.  “Please ensure that you never leave your cooking unattended and if you must smoke indoors, please do so safely and safely discard your smoker’s materials. Never smoke in bed.”

Pegg, who also serves as head of the city’s emergency response centre, made the comments Wednesday during the city’s update on its response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  

While some essential workers are still going out to their jobs, millions of people are spending most of their time in their homes as people heed public health advice to stay home as much as possible to curb the spread of the virus.

Pegg took the opportunity to remind people to make sure they have fire safety basics covered off.

“Please take this opportunity to ensure that you have working smoke alarms on every level of your home, outside each sleeping area, and that you have tested them to ensure that they are in good working order,” he said. “Also please ensure that you have a working CO (carbon monoxide) alarm in your home and that it has also been tested.”

Further tips on fire safety can be found on the city’s website.