Eleven people were hurt, including four critically, after an apartment complex fire in Bradford West Gwillimbury on Monday afternoon.
Bradford West Gwillimbury Fire Chief Jim Kay told reporters on Monday evening that 11 people in all were taken to hospital after flames broke out in a residential building at 114 Holland St. W., near Barrie Street.
All residents are now out of the building. Kay estimated the building contained close to 100 people.
Fire crews were called to the eight-storey building, which has 84 units, shortly before 2 p.m. The fire was reported on the fifth floor. Kay said the fire damaged the fifth and sixth floors and has been extinguished.
When firefighters arrived, they encountered extensive smoke and flames. Firefighters used ladders to rescue several people trapped on balconies, Kay said.
Some residents were initially asked to shelter in place at the height of the fire, but crews have since gone floor-to-floor to check air quality and to ensure no residents remain in the building.
All residents have been taken to the Danube Seniors Leisure Centre at 715 Simcoe Rd. Food and water are available there. The Red Cross and County Social Services are helping residents with registration.
There are still several pets in the apartment building but they are being removed and will be reunited with their owners, he added.
"The building itself suffered structural damage on the fifth and sixth floors, which will require a structural engineer to inspect before the building can occupied again," Kay said.
"The building will definitely not house any residents this evening."
"Many people had left on their own. They heard the alarm bells. They got up and left the building," Kay said.
"We have been in every apartment. And we will go again before we leave tonight. Chances are we will be here overnight ensuring that nothing flares up."
Ontario's Office of the Fire Marshal (OFM) is expected to be on the scene on Tuesday to investigate.
Kay said the OFM investigation will not likely start until the structural engineer determines it is safe to do so.
In a tweet, the OFM said it has dispatched two investigators and a program specialist to help Bradford West Gwillimbury Fire and Emergency Services, Town of Innisfil Fire and Rescue Service and South Simcoe Police determine the cause of the fire.
Earlier, York Region paramedics said they took eight people to hospital in York Region. Their injuries ranged from minor to serious.
South Simcoe Police had closed Holland Street West in both directions between Church and Toronto Streets while firefighters brought the blaze under control and put out hot spots.