Person pronounced dead following fire at 'very complex' building in west Toronto
Published Wednesday, June 7, 2023 2:56PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, June 7, 2023 5:07PM EDT
Investigators will soon be working to determine the cause, origin, and circumstances of a smoky fire that killed one person in Toronto’s west end Wednesday afternoon.
Around 2:10 p.m., Toronto Fire Services (TFS) was called to one-alarm fire at a commercial building at 1554 Bloor St. W, just west of Dundas Street West.
Speaking to the media at the scene on Wednesday afternoon, Deputy Fire Chief Jim Jessop said firefighters encountered flames and smoke upon arriving at the scene and immediately upgraded the incident to a second-alarm call.
“Toronto Fire Service made quick entry and started conducting our primary search while at the same time starting fire suppression activities,” he said, adding during that initial search crew members located one victim inside the building.
That individual has since been pronounced dead, Jessop said.
Emergency responders removed the victim from a second-floor window around 2:30 p.m.
“On behalf of all the women and men of Toronto Fire. I want to offer our deepest condolences and sympathies to those that have been impacted by this tragedy this afternoon,” said Jessop, who also thanked those affected for their patience.
On behalf of our entire @Toronto_Fire team, I extend condolences to family, friends and all those impacted by this tragic loss of life. Members of my command team are engaged and the investigation will commence alongside @ONFireMarshal and @TorontoPolice https://t.co/01agRzeBKb— Matthew Pegg (@ChiefPeggTFS) June 7, 2023
At this time, TFS remains at the scene. Firefighters are continuing to ventilate and conduct overhaul of the building as they search for any remaining hotspots, he said.
Crews are now working their way through what Jessop said is a “very complex, complicated” structure.
He said status of the building, including both its occupancy at the time and any fire/life safety systems, will form part of the investigation. Jessop said he cannot comment on the location of the victim until police and the corner arrive at the scene.
“I can't thank the women and men of Toronto Fire enough this was a very complex fire with a very complex building. They made entry very, very quickly," he said.
"They were in right away in high heat, smoky conditions, conducting the primary search and conducting fire suppression activity simultaneously.”
Currently, eastbound Bloor is blocked at Perth Avenue. Southbound Dundas is off limits at Boustead Avenue. Toronto police are advising drivers to expect delays. Streetcar service has also been suspended due to fire hoses on the road.
Jessop said emergency responders are working to open one lane of traffic in both directions on Bloor and Dundas in time for rush hour. All roads have since reopened.