Teresa Zasada says her uncle tried to use one of the extinguishers at 10 Glen Everest Rd. when fire broke out in her bedroom on Sunday.
But the extinguisher was almost empty.
"When I pointed the extinguisher and expelled the fluid. It only discharged for a few seconds and it was empty," said Andrew Zubriczky, who suffered second-degree burns trying to fight the blaze.
When firefighters arrived and tried to connect their hose to the building's socket, the socket broke.
The fire quickly spread through the entire apartment.
The damage is estimated at $80,000, but Zasada has no insurance. An online campaign has been organized to help replace her belongings.
The deputy fire chief says he's never seen a case like this.
"It's not typical. Not in my experience anyways," said Mike McCoy of Toronto Fire Services. "These things are supposed to be tested periodically and there's supposed to be a record of test."
Records show the fire equipment on the floor was inspected. It was checked again this week by the fire inspector.
Toronto Community Housing says it's investigating, but it points the finger at the fire department.
TCH's Sara Goldvine says firefighters chose to connect their own hose to the building's plumbing "and the valves didn't connect properly."
Zasada is urging TCH to do a better job with its equipment.
"The whole building could have gone up in flames," she said.