Mississauga, ON Nursing Home Fire, July 1980


Mississauga, Ontario (AP) -- Twenty-one people were killed and 35 injured in a nursing home fire that spread rapidly through the top floor ot the three story building where most of the chronically ill patients were housed, police said.
Initial reports indicated a careless smoker was responsible for the fire, but there was no official ruling on the cause.
Authorities said most of the victims died of smoke inhalation and extreme heat. "The smoke was very heavy and there was considerable flame and a tremendous amount of heat," said Mississauga Police Chief DOUGLAS BURROWS.
The fire broke out on the third floor of the Extendicare Ltd. nursing home shortly after 9:30 p.m. yesterday, and fire trucks were on the scene in about two minutes. But Fire Chief GORDON BENTLEY said by the time his men got there, the flames had spread across the entire third floor.

Spread Rapidly.
"Either the fire went undetected for a considerable lingth of time or spread very quickly," said BENTLEY.
However, he said the 202-room building's smoke detectors were working.
There were 198 residents in the home. BENTLEY said the firemen had difficulty getting them out because "they were mostly in wheelchairs and bedridden."
Ontario Health Minister DENNIS TIMBRELL said there would be a full investigation into the fire, but BENTLEY said he had no clue yet to what caused it.

'Nothing Left'
"Nothing is left of the rooms," he said. "We'll practically have to sift through the ashes."
Most of the injured were treated for smoke inhalation at Mississauga General Hospital across the street.

Syracuse Herald Journal New York 1980-07-15



Mississauga, Ontario (UPI) -- A fire that swept through the top floor of a private nursing home killed 21 elderly patients, some of whom died in their beds, officials said today.
Dozens of other elderly patients were rescued by firefighters who lowered residents from balconies on stretchers attached to ropes. One patient was carried down an aerial ladder in his wheelchair.
At least 85 of the home's 198 registered patients were evacuated to a nearby nursing home Monday night, with passers-by helping in moving the patients, most of them elderly.
"We think the death toll is 21 now," Mississauga Fire Chief DOUG BURROWS said. "I can't remember that many deaths in any one fire."
He said 35 people were treated for smoke inhalation, and seven firemen and several policemen were overcome by smoke while battling the blaze at the three-story home owned by Extendicare, which operates other homes in Ontario, Saskatchewan, British Columbia and the United States.
HAROLD LIVERGANT, president of Extendicare Burrows, said the fire department was alerted by a smoke detector and fire trucks were on the scene in less than two minutes.
BURROWS said some of the victims were in their beds and "it appears as if smoke caused most of the deaths, although we understand at least one was very badly burned."
All the victims were apparently patients in the home. "I haven't heard of any staff yet," BURROWS said.
Mississauga Mayor HAZEL McCALLION said the official cause of the fire had not yet been pinpointed but added, "The fire marshall has his suspicions." She wouldn't elaborate.

Chronicle Telegram Elyria Ohio 1980-07-15