Investigation underway after man found dead inside Markham house that caught fire

Yellow police tape now surrounds a turn-of-the-century house in Markham where a man, believed to be in his 60s, was found dead following a Monday afternoon fire.

The fire broke out at 7355 Reesor Rd., just north of Steeles Avenue East.

Speaking from the scene, Deputy Fire Chief Matthew Keay said that firefighters were called to the residence shortly after 3 p.m. after receiving reports that someone had tried to enter it and “encountered some smoke, heard some alarms and felt heat from (the) second story, and called 911.”

He added that the exact identity of that individual remains under investigation at this time.

“Upon our crew’s arrival, they found smoke issuing from windows on the front and the side of the home. They made a quick attack because they heard there was possibly someone inside the home (and) advanced hose lines rapidly to the second floor where they encountered zero visibility and high heat as well as a heavy fire load,” Keay said, adding that firefighters located the body of a man believed to be in his 60s a short time later.

Toronto Fire Service was also called in to assist the local department as two significant house fires were happening in the Markham area at the same time.

“I’d like to thank Toronto fire for supporting us. They helped us with rural wire supply. This is an unhydranted area, so tankers were required, and they stood by should we require a rapid intervention team,” said Keay.

“So great work from Markham fire and some great assistance from Toronto as well.”

Police working to identify victim, notify next of kin

Sgt. Andy Pattenden, of York Regional Police, said that they were also called to the area shortly after 3 p.m.

At the scene, officers found a house engulfed in flames that firefighters were attempting to put out, he said.

Speaking with the media on Monday evening, Pattenden said that two adults were able to flee the residence “unharmed,” but a third adult, a male, was not able to escape and was found deceased inside the dwelling. Police said that the discovery was made once the fire was brought under control.

“This investigation is ongoing. Our officers are here,” he said, noting that the scene is now being held and police are working with fire officials to determine if any criminality is involved in the man’s death.

For now, they are working to identify the victim and notify next of kin, he said.

Police will also be investigting the circumstances of what happened, they said in a news release.

Keay, of Markham fire, said that it is unclear if there were working smoke alarms in the home.

He went on to say that the cause of the fire has not been determined at this time.

Markham Fire and Emergency Services along with the Office of the Ontario Fire Marshall are also now investigating.

“(This fire) will be thoroughly investigated,” Keay assured, adding that their “thoughts are with this individual and their family.”

fatal fire Markham April 1

Anyone with any information aobout this fatal fire is being asked to contact YRP’s 5 District criminal investigations bureau at 1-866-976-5423, ext. 7541, or Crime Stoppers anonymously.

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