Two persons have been found dead after a fire tore through a stretch of row houses in Oshawa this morning, whereas another two remain unknown of their whereabouts.
“We have located two deceased individuals,” Oshawa Fire Chief Derrick Clark told reporters Monday evening. “At this time, we are working with the coroner (and) Durham Regional Police.”
The Fire Chief said the two bodies were found after a Toronto Fire sent an expert team in to help search the house, which sustained serious structural damage.
Officials have not formally identified the remains.
It was after 1 a.m that Oshawa Fire Services was called to a stretch of homes on Olive Avenue, between Simcoe and Ritson streets, for a report of a fire.
The fire brigade arrived to find a row home at 149 Olive Avenue being consumed by flames. They pulled 5 people from home and they were all taken to hospital.
Four have since been discharged, but one individual is still hospitalized and receiving treatment.
Oshawa Fire Services told CP24 that 3 of the 5 were initially in serious condition, including a 10-year-old kid.
Clark stated later that the hose rescued from the home suffered injuries that included burns, cuts, and smoke inhalation.
He claimed the fire was
“very difficult for our crews” and that damage to the 3-storey building was “extensive.”
For most of the time, fire crews weren’t able to find another four persons believed to have been in the house at the time the blaze started.
“We’ve got four residents unaccounted for, and at this time, it doesn’t look like it’s going to have a positive end,” Clark said.
About 6:30 p.m., he confirmed that two bodies had been located.
He said Monday was the “worst day for firefighters” and other people responding to the fire.
Neighbors claimed that a grandpa, his adult daughter, and her husband, and at least three kids lived in the house.
Clark said 7 properties were affected by the fire, and 8 residents have been offered a temporary stay in a nearby hotel.
“This is going to be a very long and difficult scene,” he said.
Olive Avenue remains shut between Simcoe and Ritson streets to allow fire brigade room to maneuver.
Clark and the Ontario Fire Marshal said the investigation into what caused the blaze had commenced but was hindered by the brittle and unsafe condition of the building because of the fire.
He said “floors have collapsed down on each other,” making it very difficult to search the remains.
“Part of the reason why we have asked for assistance from our colleagues in Toronto is they’re very well trained in structural collapse, beyond our capabilities,” Clark said.
“So, we will be returning in the morning, and we’ll be looking at the next phase of this operation, and how we can safely continue our investigation.”
“Again, safety is paramount to not only our crews with fire crews and police on scene. We’ve had very limited access so far – a little bit on the upper floors and a little bit on the lower floor. We have substantial collapse on the second and third floors.”
Clark added that the houses are about 100 years old and some of them have previously undergone some renovations.
“A lot of these units have had construction and remodeling and so on,” he said. “Very difficult fires to stop because the attics are all adjoining, and they’re all common attic. I just want to touch upon the job that the fire crews did here today. It’s nothing less than extraordinary, to keep this fire to that one unit to limit the damage as they did.”
Elsewhere, Durham police are also investigating the incident, with forensics officers on location.