Firefighters were called to the townhouse on Napanee Court, near Spadina and Dundas, just before 2am.
Officials say the blaze quickly escalated to two-alarm status, but not before a neighbour and others rushed in to help the family.
“We tried to break the window in the basement and we pulled out all the people from the basement,” neighbour Alvin Olive explained.
Olive was sleeping when he heard what sounded to him like intruders next door. When he learned it was in fact flames consuming the home, his quick action made him an instant hero.
“To be outside the perimiter of the building in a safe location and calling out to people and alerting them, that’s a great thing to do,” said Scott Evenden of the Ontario Fire Marshal’s office.
Toronto Fire Platoon Chief Larry Fry said the family is expected to be okay.
“The mother has now been transported to … hospital with minor smoke inhalation and the four kids have gone to Sick (Kids) Hospital. Their condition at this time doesn’t appear to be serious,” he said.
There were no firefighters injured in the blaze and the fire marshal’s office is investigating the cause.
Amazingly, it’s not the first time Olive’s played the role of hero. In 2005 he helped lift someone off subway tracks at Eglinton Station, after the individual had fainted and lay prone in the path of a train.