Teen charged with arson after Toronto Street fire
Published Monday, December 21, 2015 11:59AM CST Last Updated Monday, December 21, 2015 6:45PM CST
Police laid arson charges against a 16-year-old for a fire at a Toronto Street apartment Monday morning. The fire sent one woman to hospital as a precaution and firefighters saved a cat from a unit in the building.
After emergency crews arrived, a male came forward and told police he was responsible for the fire, police said. The youth faces charges of arson with disregard for human life, arson with damage to property, and posession of incendiary materials.
Almost 30 people need to find a place to stay after the fire, and it's unclear when they can go home. Red Cross is paying for a hotel for some, while others are staying with family.
Crews contained the blaze to a basement unit in the building, but heavy smoke filled apartments and hallways on the upper floors just before 10:00 a.m.
“It was very black, very heavy, very thick. The boys could not see at all,” said Platoon Chief Frank Leswick. “You couldn’t see the hands in front of your face.”
Most people living in the building evacuated before firefighters arrived, but a family on the first floor stayed behind to look for a cat that hid when the commotion began.
Eventually, fire crews escorted them out and once the fire had been knocked down, went back to look for the cat.
“They said it was dangerous for them and us. We got four out but he hid,” said Ellie Larosa, as she held her cat Oreo. “The firemen went in and got him for us. I’m really grateful.”
Larosa’s daughter went to hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation as a precaution.
Platoon Chief Leswick says it can be dangerous for people to stay behind and look for pets during a fire.
He recommends getting out of the building immediately and informing firefighters about lost pets.
Damage from the fire is estimated at $400,000.