Fire at Maitland Street occurred on second floor

    Stairwell doors that were propped open contributed to spread of smoke and

    TORONTO, April 8 /CNW/ -


    The Office of the Fire Marshal (OFM) can now confirm that the fire that
began on the second floor of the apartment building at 56 Maitland Street in
Toronto claimed the life of an individual who lived on the third floor.
    After conducting their preliminary investigation, OFM investigators
learned that the tenant who lived in the apartment of fire origin, evacuated
safely, leaving his apartment door open. Unfortunately, the stairwell doors on
each floor of the building had been propped open, allowing thick smoke and
intense heat to enter the stairwell and the third floor. A tenant from the
third floor was found in the corridor, overcome by smoke and heat from the
second floor fire.
    The OFM continues to work with Toronto Fire Services and Toronto Police
to conduct a thorough investigation into the origin, cause and circumstances
surrounding this fire. One contributing factor to the outcome of this fire was
the proximity of the victim's apartment to the propped open stairwell door.


    "I want to express my condolences and sympathies to the family and
friends of the individual who lost his life in this fire," said Ontario Fire
Marshal Pat Burke. "The life lost is particularly tragic because it could have
been easily prevented. Stairwell doors are safety devices and are in place for
a reason: they are designed to prevent the spread of heat and smoke so people
can get out safely when there is a fire."
    "The smoke and fire alarms activated to provide an early warning to alert
people to the fire," said OFM Manager of Fire Investigation Services, Chris
Williams. "The investigation is focussing on the impact the open stairwell
doors had on the severity of this fire."


    People who live in apartment buildings must take every fire alarm
seriously and act immediately. Evacuation should never be delayed for any
reason. Occupants should never enter a smoky corridor or stairwell. If you
encounter smoke or heat, look for an alternative exit or return to the
apartment and call the fire department. Everyone should be familiar with their
building's fire safety plan. Ensure all stairwell doors are kept properly
closed. Stairwell doors should never be blocked open. To learn more about what
to do in an apartment fire, visit

For further information:

For further information: Carol Gravelle, Office of the Fire Marshal,
(416) 325-3138 (cell (416) 427-9795); Detective Ron Boyce, Toronto Police
Services, (416) 808-5100

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