Three children are dead after a fire engulfed a townhouse in Brampton, Ont., on Thursday, officials say.
According to Peel Regional Police, emergency crews were called about a residence in the area of Torbram Road and Clark Boulevard, where a fire was raging at about 9:11 a.m. ET.
Emergency officials have not released the identities of the victims but said they were aged nine, 12 and 15. Brampton is a city of about 669,900 people, located northwest of Toronto.
Brampton Fire Chief Bill Boyes said firefighters encountered heavy flames and smoke when they arrived at the scene. The three children were pulled from the home and rushed to hospital, but they were later pronounced dead.
“This is a tragic day, to have three young children perish in a fire, it’s absolutely horrible,” Boyes said.
“My heart goes out to the parents, the family and the friends of those three individuals.”
One firefighter also sustained minor injuries but wasn’t taken to hospital, officials say.
Boyes said fire crews were still dousing hot spots after the victims were pulled from the home. It’s too early to say what caused the fire, he said, and noted that the Office of the Ontario Fire Marshal will be investigating.
No adults were home at the time. Peel Regional Police Const. Akhil Mooken told CBC News that the children’s mother was taking a younger child to school when the fire occurred.
“I can’t begin to imagine what she’s feeling at this point. She lost three of her children,” he said. “As a parent myself, of two children, I can’t begin to imagine the heartache that she’s going through.”
Mooken said he expects the investigation to take several days.
‘It’s a very tough day’
Boyes also said he wanted to acknowledge the heroic actions of the firefighters who tried to save the children.
“I spoke to them. It’s a very tough day for them, and they did absolutely everything they could,” he said.
Both Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown and Ontario Premier Doug Ford extended condolences to the family and friends of the three victims.
“I want to acknowledge the efforts of all the firefighters on scene who faced extremely challenging fire conditions & risked their lives to try [to] save these 3 children,” Brown said on Twitter.
“My heart just breaks for the family and the whole community,” Ford said at a Thursday morning news conference.
“What a tragedy it is.”