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5-alarm fatal fire in North York building started in apartment bedroom

Several floors of a high-rise building are heavily damaged following a high-rise fire in North York. CITYNEWS

The Ontario Fire Marshal’s (OFM) office has determined that a five-alarm fire that displaced hundreds of residents from a North York high-rise and killed one person began in an eighth floor unit’s bedroom.

The OFM completed their on-scene investigation at the apartment complex on Gosford Boulevard near Jane Street and Steeles Avenue West Tuesday afternoon. They said the fire began in one of the two bedrooms in the unit closest to the living room and not the kitchen.

Preliminary reports said the fire did not look suspicious and investigators are still looking for possible ignition sources. They hope to have an answer in the near future.

The investigation took four days to complete and was slowed down by a lack of electricity, which meant investigators did not have access to elevators.

The building has been released to the building owners who will be arranging coordinated escorted entry to building. Residents will potentially be allowed inside on Thursday. More information will be provided to residents by the property owner.

Meanwhile the city is still providing shelter to displaced residents at the York University Tait McKenzie Centre. They say 47 people, including 14 children stayed in the shelter overnight.

A representative with the Toronto Office of Emergency Management said 354 residents were displaced. They are being encouraged to contact family and friends to arrange for accommodation and have been advised to contact their insurance providers as well.

The blaze on Friday resulted in the death of one person and sent another to hospital, while forcing the evacuation of about 700 residents after power needed to be cut to the entire building.

Fire officials say there was extensive damage to several adjacent floors and units in the building and a large debris field, making it unsafe for public entry.

The Canadian Red Cross and Salvation Army are involved in discussions about clothing and other kinds of support the displaced residents may need.