Man dead in house fire in Toronto's Roncesvalles Village

A man is dead following a "hot and deep-seeded" fire in a house in Toronto's Roncesvalles Village neighbourhood late Tuesday evening.

The blaze broke out shortly before 10:30 p.m. at a residence in the area of Roncesvalles Avenue and Marion Street, just north of Queen Street West, Toronto Fire says. 

Heavy flames and plumes of smoke were spotted billowing from the basement when fire crews arrived, said Toronto Fire District Chief Stephan Powell. 

Around a dozen residents were able to escape from the building, but one occupant was trapped on the second floor, according to Toronto police.

Firefighters pulled him from the two-storey building but he was later pronounced dead at the scene. His identity has not yet been released because police are notifying his next-of-kin.

Paramedics treated another person — described as a bystander who called 911 and alerted residents inside to the fire — for minor smoke inhalation. The individual was taken to hospital in non-life threatening condition.

Linda Ward/CBC

"Our crews did a really good job tonight of getting inside quickly and controlling the spreading growth and development of the fire," Toronto Fire Chief Matthew Pegg told reporters at the scene.

It took fire crews roughly 45 minutes to extinguish the blaze.

But Toronto Fire District Chief Jim Jessop pointed out that firefighters faced challenging conditions in stamping out the flames due to the nature of the home. 

Multiple rooms throughout the building, he said, made for "very narrow and cramped quarters" that crews found difficult to navigate.

It appears to be a multi-unit residence, he added, housing between 12 and 14 people. 

The Office of the Ontario Fire Marshal has commenced an investigation with the help of Toronto Fire Services. The provincial watchdog is responsible for probing where the fire started and what ignited it, along with assessing the property damage. Jessop anticipates the investigation could take up to two days. 

Meanwhile, Pegg estimated the west-end home suffered "significant" damage as a result of the fire. Pictures from the scene showed that many of the first floor windows had been smashed to ventilate the building. 

He tweeted overnight Wednesday that arrangements were being made for the numerous residents displaced by the fire.