Man found dead in Leslieville rooming house fire

A man has died and six people have been displaced after a fire at an unregistered rooming house on Coxwell Avenue in Toronto. Nick Westoll has more on the investigation.

One person is dead and the Ontario Fire Marshal is investigating following a fire at a rooming house in Toronto’s east end on Thursday morning.

Emergency crews were initially called to a row house on Coxwell Avenue north of Dundas Street East around 5:30 a.m. for reports of a fire.

Crews arrived to find smoke coming from the second floor.

Officials say a man, one of the tenants of the rooming house, was pulled from inside the home without vital signs. Paramedics confirm to CityNews the victim was pronounced dead at the scene.

Toronto Fire Chief Matthew Pegg said seven people were known to be living in the rooming house.

The one-alarm fire was quickly put out by crews. No other injuries were reported.

Officials are trying to determine the cause of the fire. Police are also on scene investigating.

Tenants say the house is divided into several units and one told CityNews there were no working smoke alarms inside the building. Chief Pegg also confirmed tenants told fire officials that there were no working smoke alarms.

Mark Richardson, volunteer technical lead with the advocacy group HousingNowTO, tells CityNews the reports of no smoke alarms suggest an illegal rooming house.

“Rooming houses are always a challenge and because there’s been sort of a patchwork across the city over the last 20 years,” he says. “They were allowed in some areas. They weren’t allowed in other areas.”

Richardson says the city needs a regulation format to ensure all rooming houses are in compliance, and therefore they all get insured and have proper inspections.

“We need to create more housing options for people who can only afford under $1,000 a month in rent within the city,” he says.

With files from Carl Hanstke and Nick Westoll

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