03/17/2013 02:06 EDT | Updated 05/17/2013 05:12 EDT

Fire leaves Toronto school board trustee in intensive care

Irene Atkinson, a veteran Toronto District School Board trustee, remains in intensive care hours after she suffered smoke inhalation when a fire broke out in her High Park home.

Fellow TDSB trustee Shaun Chen told reporters that Atkinson was first taken to St. Joseph's Health Centre after the fire on Saturday night and transferred to Toronto General Hospital later in the evening.

"Trustee Atkinson is currently in intensive care with a ventilator. She suffered from smoke inhalation and we are hoping for the best," said Chen, who spoke with one of Atkinson's daughters on Sunday.

"We are hopeful and praying that she will recover."

Chen said Atkinson had worked in public education for 40 years.

Fire officials said the fire broke out in the kitchen of Atkinson's home. Another person was injured in the fire.

News of the fire spread quickly on Sunday. Many of Atkinson's friends and colleagues said they were hoping that she would recover.

Earlier in the day, the school board released a statement about Atkinson and the fire.

"Last evening, Toronto District School Board Trustee Irene Atkinson was taken to hospital following a fire at her home," the statement said.

"On behalf of all Trustees, staff and students at the TDSB, our thoughts are with Irene and her family at this difficult time."

Concern from colleagues

TDSB trustee Elizabeth Moyer wished "for a speedy recovery" for Atkinson, whom she described on Twitter as "a feisty woman" who is up to any challenge.

Coun. Josh Matlow, who previously served as a TDSB trustee, tweeted that his thoughts are with Atkinson and her family.

"She is a champion for our city's kids," Matlow tweeted.

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and Coun. Shelley Carroll both tweeted that their thoughts were with the trustee.

Rosario Marchese, the MPP for the Toronto riding Trinity-Spadina, tweeted after learning that his friend was in the hospital after the fire.

"My love and best wishes to a great education advocate," Marchese said.

Premier Kathleen Wynne tweeted: "My prayers are with Irene."