One person dead after house fire in North York

A man found without vital signs inside a North York home following a fire early this morning has died, Toronto police say.

The fire broke out at a residence on Mayberry Road, near Sheppard Avenue West and Jane Street, shortly after 4 a.m.

"One of our sergeants was the first on scene and helped two elderly occupants out of the house. Fire (crews) arrived shortly afterwards and started fighting the fire. There was a lot of smoke and some flames coming out of the back of the building," Insp. Michael Williams told CP24 at the scene.

"Once Toronto Fire made entry into the house, they located a male in his 50s in the basement, who was vital signs absent at the time."

The man was rushed to hospital via emergency run but later died.

Police have not released the name of the deceased.

The cause and origin of the blaze has not yet been determined and the Office of the Fire Marshal will investigate the fatal fire.

"It is still very early on at this point," Williams said when asked about the circumstances surrounding the fire.

"It sounds like it may have started in the basement at the back of the house... that is something that 31 Division investigative bureau will work in partnership with the fire marshal to make a determination on the origin and what may have started this."

The family who owns the home told CP24 that the victim was a close friend who had lived at the residence for decades.

The son of the owners, who also lives at the residence, said he heard the smoke alarm go off and immediately went to alert his elderly parents, who were asleep.

He said he spoke briefly to the victim, who had a room in the basement, and told him to leave the house. He said the victim at one point was actively trying to fight the fire.

Deputy Fire Chief Jim Jessop could not confirm if the victim did in fact try to extinguish the blaze himself but said that will be part of the investigation.

"Certainly the message that Toronto Fire Services has is when you see a fire or become notified of a fire, to leave immediately. That is why home escape planning is so important," he said.

"That will form part of the investigation into the origin, cause, and circumstances of the fire, but as a general message we never encourage anyone to stay in any structure and fight a fire. You exit the building as quickly as possible."