The fire alarms did not go off during a fire at a Toronto Community Housing apartment building on Wednesday morning.
The fire began on the 7th floor of 275 Shuter St., west of Parliament Street, just before 6:40 a.m.
One man who lives in the building said he was woken up by someone screaming “Fire!” He heard knocking at his door. It was a woman who lived in the building who was running down the hall and banging on her neighbours’ doors to warn them.
“Just as she was coming in she heard a big smash-out,” the woman’s daughter, Christine Whelan, said.
“She looked up and she seen flames and windows being shot up. It took her a few seconds to realize that it was her house.
“Her first instinct was to get upstairs because she is really close with all her tenants. She’s been a tenant rep for 15 years. She banged on everyone’s door to get them all out.”
Johnny Gill, another resident, said the alarms did not go off.
“I am scared … for it not to go off, and if there was a big fire,” Gill said.
“I feel sorry that can’t get out, because there’s people with walkers and canes.”
Fire crews said there were no alarms and no annunciator panels in the building because a new system was being installed. Once firefighters arrived, they had to walk up stairways to check on tenants.
“I think that’s stupid. It’s a highrise. There’s a couple hundred people in here,” Whelan said.
No injuries have been reported.
A spokesperson for Toronto Community Housing told CityNews that a fire watch was in place, and it was a security guard who called the fire department. A fire watch is put in place when a building’s fire alarm system is out, and the person on fire watch duty is not allowed to perform any other tasks.