Officials say the bodies of two children have been recovered from the scene of an Oshawa house fire, raising the death toll from Monday’s blaze to four.
Local officials held a press conference on the Olive Avenue fire Tuesday evening.
Prior to the update, two people were confirmed to have died in the blaze after their bodies were found Monday, while two others were considered to be unaccounted for.
“We can confirm that we did locate two more deceased parties this afternoon and that was two children that were recovered from the residence,” Durham Regional Police Const. George Tudos said.
Tudos said the two victims who were found Monday were both adults.
No one else is considered missing, Oshawa Fire Chief Derrick Clark said.
Officials didn’t release further information regarding the victims, adding that their identities still need to be confirmed by the Centre of Forensic Sciences.
Tudos also announced that Durham police’s major crime unit will be leading the investigation into the fire.
“Information that was brought to the attention of our investigators prompted us to get involved with this investigation,” Tudos said, but didn’t elaborate further.
He said police will continue to work with the Office of the Fire Marshal.
There is no word on what may have caused the blaze.
Resident narrowly escapes through bathroom window
Earlier Tuesday, Global News spoke to 52-year-old Mike Thompson, a resident of the home who narrowly escaped the fire by smashing through a bathroom window.
He is one of five people who made it out of the century-old rowhouse after the blaze broke out before 1 a.m. Monday.
“I was woken up by the tenants from the first floor saying there was a fire and to get out of the house,” Thompson told Global News.
“When we (came) out of the room, there was so much smoke we couldn’t see anything. We had to feel our way around in order to get to the bathroom and smash out the window and crawl out the back.”
Thompson said the home owner’s son-in-law, who lived on the first floor with his wife and one of his sons, is who woke him up. The man’s two other boys resided on the second floor of the home.
“We assumed he was getting all the kids out because he told us to get out, and once we were out, we realized the kids weren’t out and there was no way of getting back in,” Thompson said, referring to the two boys on the second floor.
“The whole house was engulfed in flames…
“The father asked me where the boys were and I said, ‘I thought you had them,’ and he said, ‘no I didn’t.'”
Thompson said the home’s owner escaped from the blaze with him and also tried to smash third-floor windows to try and save two other men.
“He screamed for them there was no response from them whatsoever,” Thompson said.
“They may have been taken over by smoke already at that time.”
Family and friends have said they believe two children and two men did not escape.
Thompson said he doesn’t know what could’ve caused the fire.
He said the two children who didn’t escape were, “Very polite, very well-behaved boys.”
“I feel like crap cuz I couldn’t do more,” Thompson said.
“And my two friends on the third floor too, that I’ve known for a long time.”
The Office of the Fire Marshal said it has investigated three other fires on the same road in Oshawa.
There were two arsons — one in 2016 and one in 2002 — but no one died, a spokeswoman for the office said. There was also an accidental fire in 2006 where one person died and careless smoking was determined to be the cause, the office said.
— With files from Catherine McDonald, Gabby Rodrigues and The Canadian Press