Inferno deaths spark smoke alarm warning

The weekend deaths of a mother and two of her five children after a fire gutted their two-storey townhouse serves as a warning about the dangers of disconnecting a smoke alarm, the Ontario Fire Marshal’s office says.



Investigators have still not determined what caused the inferno but they confirmed the smoke alarm on the first floor was missing, leaving the family without "the early warning that they needed," said Jim Fisher, supervisor of investigations.


Neighbours and family identified the victims as Diane Anderson, who was in her 30s, her daughter Tayjah Simpson, 8, and youngest son Jah-Jah Simpson, 4. Police are crediting their 16-year-old sister Iesha Simpson with rescuing her brothers Travari Anderson, 5, and Trevon Simpson, 12.

Iesha, a Grade 11 student at Westview high school, was asleep when she awoke to a room full of thick, black smoke. She emerged from the flames and smoke with her brother and sister, barefoot and screaming.

"She yelled out to the rest of the family," said Toronto police Det. Rick Ramjattam said. "I think she did an amazing job. She did her best under difficult circumstances."

The teen and her two siblings were treated for minor burns and smoke inhalation and released yesterday to the custody of Diane’s sister, Sophia Anderson.

smoke alarms

  • Investigators determined the fire started on the main floor of the townhouse. They don’t yet know if the smoke detector on the second floor was activated.