One person remains in critical condition following a fire at Caressant Care retirement home on Bonnie Place in St. Thomas late Saturday.

A total of seven people were injured following the late night blaze.

Three people remain in hospital as a precaution, fire officials say. Two staff members and a firefighter were also sent to hospital for smoke inhalation but have since been released.

It was a dramatic scene as about 10 ambulances, including from other jurisdictions, and 36 firefighers were on scene to transport the injured and evacuate residents.

"We arrived in four minutes. When we arrived we had a bedroom fully involved in fire," said Bill Todd, St. Thomas fire prevention officer.

"We did rescue 41 residents and had everyone moved out and the fire put out."

Stuart Oakley, the communications manager at Caressant Care Nursing Homes and Retirement Ltd., said some of the residents are at their other facility in St. Thomas, named Mary Bucke.

“Our staff have just been absolutely incredible throughout this ordeal, making sure that residents were moved as quickly as possible," he said

The fire started about 9:30 p.m. in a bedroom. Three people were in the room at the time. One escaped and called for help. Staff had to evacuate the other two, officials say.

The cause is not known but the Ontario Fire Marshal arrived on the scene Sunday to start the investigation.

Fire Marshal Clive Hubbard said he was called at 1 a.m. about the fire.

"This is a vulnerable occupancy location," he said. "With the serious injuries associated with this fire, we have to…conduct a full and thorough investigation as to the origin and cause."

Long-term care homes must all have sprinkler systems as of Jan. 1 and they were in place at this facility, officials say.

"The sprinklers did activate which significantly impacted the spread of the fire," Hubbard said.


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