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Cause of fatal blaze at King Street apartment tower under investigation: fire officials

The western tower of 700 King Street in London, Ont.
The western tower of 700 King Street in London, Ont. Google Maps

Investigation is continuing into the cause of a fatal apartment fire over the weekend in London’s Old East Village, fire officials said Monday.

Fire crews responded to 700 King St. around 9 p.m. Saturday following multiple reports of a fire in a unit on the fifth floor of the complex’s western tower.

READ MORE: June 14: Two separate apartment building fires in London Ont., Saturday

Firefighters were met with heavy smoke outside of the apartment. After forcing their way in, crews located an unconscious, middle-aged man, said Platoon Chief Gary Mosburger.

“(They) were able to rescue and extricate them from the room,” Mosburger said in an interview Monday.

“We performed CPR, defibrillation on that victim and (he was) subsequently transported to hospital. Since then… the individual has… succumbed to his injuries.”

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A cause of death and a damage estimate were not known as of early Monday afternoon. The Ontario Fire Marshal was also called in.

Crews managed to douse the flames relatively quickly, Mosburger said, but smoke kept them on scene longer.

“Because the smoke had migrated down the hallways and into the stairwells, it created quite a challenge for us to get the smoke out of the building, but also to confirm air quality of carbon monoxide and hydrogen cyanide for the safety of the residents,” he said.

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Residents in the two units adjacent to the impacted apartment were evacuated for the night and provided temporary housing.

“We don’t suspect there’s any damage to their units, possibly a little bit of smoke, but nothing to note at this point,” Mosburger said.

Most other residents, meantime, were let back inside later that night.

Mosburger praised the work of paramedics and police in responding to the scene.

A fire on June 13, 2020, at an apartment building along Jalna Boulevard in London, Ont., left one person in hospital and an apartment destroyed.
A fire on June 13, 2020, at an apartment building along Jalna Boulevard in London, Ont., left one person in hospital and an apartment destroyed. London Fire Department via Twitter

The King Street blaze wasn’t the only apartment fire crews dealt with on Saturday.

A fire hours earlier at a highrise on Jalna Boulevard left one person in hospital and an apartment unit all but destroyed. The condition of the individual was not immediately known.

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Firefighters managed to extinguish the blaze before it spread.

Officials later determined the cause of the fire to be unattended cooking, and a damage estimate was pegged at around $100,000.

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