A toddler has died after being pulled from a burning house on Hamilton's West Mountain Monday morning.
Neighbours and a relative said the victim is a three-year-old boy who lived in the basement of the semi-detached home with his mother.
Firefighters responded to calls about a house fire at 240 Golden Orchard Drive, near Garth Street and the Lincoln Alexander Parkway, shortly after 10 a.m.
When they arrived on scene there was heavy fire and smoke coming through the windows of the house, said Hamilton fire spokesman Claudio Mostacci.
Firefighters were told by people on scene and in calls to the fire department that there was someone inside the house.
"When we arrived, we were informed there was a child unaccounted for in the basement and that's where we went in and we did our aggressive search and rescue," he said.
They found a toddler in the basement and immediately put the child in care of paramedics, who rushed him to hospital.
"Unfortunately, we have to report that the child has succumbed" to the fire injuries, Mostacci said.
The child's mother was also taken to hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation. The adult and the child were the only ones home at the time.
OFM on scene
Joe Piazza lives two doors down and said his mother came out Monday morning when she heard her neighbour scream for help.
"My mom was trying to comfort her. The neighbour here tried to go in, but the fire was just hot, just too much."
After firefighters arrived, they went in as soon as they could and found the child, he said.
"They came out with the child in their hands," Piazza said.
Piazza's mom is "heartbroken," he said. He got choked up as he talked. "I can't -- I can't imagine."
Nancy Adams drove by the house in the afternoon. She said her daughter lives on the main floor and her niece and her son live in the basement. Her daughter was at work and came home early to learn her house had been on fire.
Adams said she had just come from visiting her niece and said she had been released from hospital.
"It's terrible, you never think it would happen to someone you know," she said.
An investigator from the Ontario Fire Marshal's officer arrived shortly after 2:00 P.M. The OFM will be investigating alongside the Coroner and with the assistance of Hamilton police.
"The cause is going to be part of the coroner investigation," said Mostacci.
"It's a sad situation."
He said the department's critical incident response team has been brought in to support the firefighters who were involved in the rescue attempt.
"It's difficult to lose anybody, but especially when there's children involved."