Toronto firecrews responded to a 4 alarm blaze this afternoon after several reports of thick black smoke and fire were called into their dispatch by local residents at the lunch hour in Toronto's west end of the city centre.
Upon arrival, crews reported heavy fire and smoke conditions and quickly escalated the incident to an eventual 4 alarm response within minutes of evaluating the scene. A total of 4 semi detached houses were involved after what Deputy Chief Rick Simpson(pictured) speculated cause might be attributed to work crew replacing a roof on one of the homes involved.
Over 100 firefighters responded with approx. 34 apparatus. Hand lines were advanced for an interior attack as two aerial towers were set up for an exterior attack. Crews ventilated roof areas as the fire continued to spread through the properties.
A larger than typical response was required as temperatures in Toronto reached over 39 degrees Celcius with high humidity. At the time, the region was already in a 'high heat advisory'.
Crews were only permitted inside the property to fight the fire in 5 minute intervals before being sent to Rehab. to rehydrate with water, Gatorade, popsicles, meal replacement bars and taking turns inside revolutionary 'cooler chairs' outfitted with ice bags to bring down core body temperatures to prevent heatstroke.
The only injuries reported were to a police officer first on scene inside the fire house to alert any possible residents. He received 2nd degree burns to his arm and was transported to hospital. One firefighter was overcome by heat for a short time but reported back to duty after resting and hydrating. Approximately 8 cats and 1 dog were rescued. It's reported that there may still be more felines that are unaccounted for.
The Provincial fire marshal's office has been called in to investigate further.
Initial damage cost is pegged at approximately $750,000CDN.