Within moments yesterday, an east-end townhouse was the scene of triumphant escape and heartbreaking tragedy.

Daniela Ocaranza scrambled to safety with her 12-year-old son, crawling beneath a cloud of black smoke.

Her sister — unable to breathe and trapped by rising flames — was forced to toss her 21-month-old daughter from a second-storey window to a quick-thinking neighbour below.

That neighbour, Werner Schmidt, who had been unable to rescue his wife trapped inside the burning building, felt saving the child was the only thing he could do.

“I said, ‘Throw the baby,’ and I caught the baby, because I knew I couldn’t do anything for my wife (Louise),” he told CTV.

Louise Schmidt succumbed to her injuries at the scene of the Queen and Greenwood fire. Firefighters arrived shortly after 11:15 a.m.

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