‘Our hoses are freezing’: 4-alarm fire leaves 1 in life-threatening condition

Fire crews responding to a four alarm fire at an apartment building in Toronto's west end. Phil Fraboni / Global News

A four-alarm fire in Toronto’s west end sent four residents to hospital, one of them in life-threatening condition, Saturday morning.

A Toronto Fire spokesperson told Global News that crews received the call at around 6:15 a.m. for a fire at a three-storey apartment building at the intersection of Shaw and Leeds streets, just north of Bloor Street West.

Toronto police tweeted that black smoke and flames were seen coming from the roof of the apartment building.

Later that morning, the roof collapsed, police said.

Toronto Paramedics told Global News one person was transported to hospital in life-threatening condition. Three others were transported to hospital with minor injuries.

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Later that morning, Acting Fire Chief Jim Jessop confirmed that a total of eleven residents were evacuated.

“The building right now is going to be uninhabitable, so there’ll be dozens of individuals that will be displaced,” the Chief said.

Jessop added that the cold weather conditions have made this response difficult.

“On the coldest day of the year, obviously the weather is having an impact on our crews and our equipment,” he said.

“Our hoses are freezing. Obviously, the physical toll it takes on the women and men of our crews right now. It’s a very challenging day, but we’re cycling our crews through.”

On Jan. 4, crews responded to a fire at this same residential building, Toronto Fire confirmed with Global News. In that event, the fire was quickly knocked down.

At this time, the cause of Saturday’s fire is unknown.

The TTC and the Canadian Red Cross were called to assist with providing shelter, police said, and roads in the area were closed for the investigation.

Both Saturday’s fire and the fire on Jan. 4 will be part of a comprehensive investigation, a spokesperson with Toronto Fire said.

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