Woman in her 30s in life-threatening condition after fire in Scarborough apartment

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Woman in her 30s in life-threatening condition after fire in Scarborough apartment

A woman believed to be in her 30s is in life-threatening condition after a fire broke out in a Scarborough apartment building on Sunday morning.

Fifty firefighters were called to the scene shortly before 11 a.m. for reports of heavy smoke billowing from a second-floor balcony at Bellamy Road North and Cedar Brae Boulevard, near Eglinton Avenue East and McCowan Road.

The woman escaped from the apartment and was found by emergency responders in the stairwell, Toronto Fire says. 

She was without vital signs when she was pulled from the building and was rushed to Scarborough and Rouge Hospital in life-threatening condition, according to paramedics.

A second victim was treated by paramedics at the scene, but wasn't taken to hospital. Four other residents also sought medical attention, said Toronto Fire District Chief Stephan Powell. 

The fire, believed to have started in the apartment unit, was extinguished in 15 minutes, and the building was evacuated while firefighters ventilated it.

Initial reports from police indicated that an explosion might have happened in the unit, but Powell was unable to confirm that information. 

Ontario's Office of the Fire Marshal has been notified and is working with Toronto Fire to determine what caused the blaze and where it originated.

Resident Betty Henry told CBC Toronto she stepped out of the apartment building to walk her dog and returned to see flames erupting from a balcony window. 

"You could see the flames rise higher and then the windows popped out like an explosion," she said. 

She says she knows the woman who was taken to hospital, adding that the woman's partner had popped down to the corner store when the fire started.

"He was running to try and see if he could get her from upstairs, but he couldn't," said Henry. "When they brought her down, they were doing CPR on her, and he just collapsed on the ground."

The woman's name and exact age hasn't been released.