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Man dead after fire at Toronto Community Housing building

Last Updated Feb 10, 2017 at 5:35 am EDT

A man is dead and five others were taken to hospital after a three-alarm fire at a Toronto Community House (TCH) building on Thursday.

Fire officials said the blaze broke out on the fourth floor of the 130-unit building on George Street, near Dundas Street, before 5:45 p.m.

Toronto Fire deployed 32 vehicles, including pumpers, trucks with hazmat apparatus, and those with aerial ladders to rescue stranded residents.

“Our crews encountered heavy smoke and fire conditions,” Chief Matthew Pegg said. “A very complex, a very demanding rescue, so I’m certainly proud of all of the women and men that were here tonight.”

Friends of the victim said he was part of the fabric of the building, playing the ukulele and mouth organ. He also had strokes and mobility issues.

“Over the last two weeks he’s been in and out of the hospital because he can’t function on his own,” said Conrad Hall.

“And even today, we told the nurse you can’t leave him alone.”

The man lived in the unit where the fire started. His name has not been released.

Those taken to hospital were treated for smoke inhalation and other injuries.

Mayor John Tory was at the scene to talk to residents who had taken shelter on a bus. He confirmed no one would be allowed back in the building Thursday evening due to the possibility of toxic fumes, water damage, and damage to smoke alarms.

“All buildings are inspected monthly and some elements are inspected daily, weekly or bi-weekly,” said Lisa Murray of TCH. “So we take it very seriously and we’re always on top of fire safety.”

The Fire Marshal’s Office has been called in to investigate.