HAMILTON — Flames poured from the windows of a Hamilton home early Saturday morning in a blaze that claimed the lives of three people and sent seven others to hospital.
Hamilton Fire Department spokesman Claudio Mostacci said firefighters were called to a house fire in Hamilton's north end at 4:30 a.m.
They arrived to find smoke and flame coming from the second floor of the two and a half-storey house. The fire reached a neighbouring house before they could bring it under control.
Mostacci said 11 people were in the first house at the time of the fire. Eight of them had made their way out of the house by the time fire crews arrived, Mostacci said in a news conference.
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Seven people were sent to hospital and one escaped uninjured.
Three bodies, which firefighters initially couldn't locate, were found in the home on Saturday afternoon, fire officials said.
Firefighters were forced to abandon their search-and-rescue efforts in the first house, due to concerns that the structure might collapse, said Mostacci.
No one was inside the second house at the time of the fire.
The three bodies have not been moved pending an investigation by police and the Ontario fire marshal, but conditions inside the house must be secured first, officials say.
"We want to make sure first and foremost that it's safe for fire personnel and police personnel to get in there to continue with our investigation,'' said Lonnie Schubert of Office of the Ontario Fire Marshal said in the news conference.
The victims' identities will be released once police have notified next of kin, said Mostacci.
The fire department spokesman also said the coroner was on the scene.