BRAMPTON, Ont. — Police say three people who died this morning in a house fire in Brampton, Ont., were members of one family.
Peel regional police say a young girl, also a member of the same family, was rescued and taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries.
She was listed in stable condition, while her mother, father and sister were killed in the blaze. The child suffered third-degree burns and smoke inhalation and was rushed to Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto.
Brampton Fire Chief Michael Clark says that by the time firefighters arrived on scene shortly after 4 a.m., someone had broken down the door to the main floor and saved the young girl.
Investigators were on site of a house fire in Brampton, Ont., early Tuesday morning. Three people were found dead. (Photo: Christopher Katsarov/The Canadian Press)
Clark says firefighters attacked the fire from the front of the house and had the blaze under control in 10 minutes. He said it appeared the fire started on the main floor in the living room.
"The smoke can obviously kill people and spreads quickly throughout the house."
Firefighters then entered the house through the side and searched the basement before making their way upstairs, he said.
There, Clarke said, firefighters found three bodies in the bedrooms of the main unit in the semi-detached house.
He did not reveal the age of the injured girl or the ages and genders of the dead.
"They were just really nice people."
Neighbours said a family of four, including two daughters, lived on the main level of the semi-detached house.
Nicole Chevolleau broke into tears as she walked towards the burned home, saying she was friends with the teen girl who had died in the fire.
"She was really smart and she was really sweet and so was her mom. They were just really nice people," said an emotional Chevolleau. "I still can't even process it. I was in class when I found out and I left."
Chevolleau said her friend was a university student at the University of Guelph-Humber. She said she had attended elementary school, middle school and high school with the girl and also knew the teen's mother and younger sister.
Investigators were on site of a house fire in Brampton, Ont., early Tuesday morning. (Photo: Christopher Katsarov/The Canadian Press)
"She was shy but she was a nice girl," Chevolleau said of her friend's little sister. "Her mom was really nice...She cares a lot about her daughters and her daughters' friends too."
Peel District School Board spokeswoman Carla Pereira said one of the victims graduated from one of their high schools last June, while the girl who was rescued is a current elementary school student.
She said a critical incident response team is on hand to support friends of the high school grad who are still students, as well as current schoolmates of the younger girl.
"They will stay as long as they're needed to support students and staff who require that level of support — someone to talk to or someone to help them understand how something like this could happen,'' Pereira said.
Neighbour Raman Brar said by the time she left her house at 5:30 a.m., the fire was already out, only smoke billowing from the home two doors down.
"This is so sad," Brar said. "They were a good family, a nice family."
Family was from Pakistan
Waqar Chaudery lives across the street and said police told him three people in the same family were dead and the family's youngest child was in hospital.
"This is shocking, I'm not sure what to say,'' Chaudery said.
"I will miss the father — my fellow countryman from Pakistan."
The fire chief said he was unsure whether there were any working smoke alarms in the home, but said firefighters didn't hear any alarms upon arrival. Brampton Fire, Peel regional police and the Ontario Fire Marshal are investigating.
Other recent Ontario house fires
It's the latest in a string of deadly house fires in Ontario over the last few months.
Four family members died in a fire in Port Colborne, Ont., in mid-December. About 12 hours later, a fire ripped through a home on Oneida Nation of the Thames, killing four children and their father.
On Christmas Eve, a mother, father and their two sons died in a blaze in a cottage near Peterborough, Ont. Two others died in a fire near Chatham-Kent in late January.
With files from Liam Casey and Michelle McQuigge in Toronto