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'I knew they weren't going to get out': Oshawa fire survivor shares traumatic experience

Last Updated Mar 23, 2021 at 7:29 pm EDT

Heart-wrenching details about a massive blaze at an Oshawa row house came to light Tuesday as a resident of the home who escaped the inferno shared his experience and recollections from a traumatic night.

Michael Thompson was in bed on the second floor of the home on Olive Avenue when he says the blaze broke out on the first floor, making its way up. Tenants from the first floor alerted him to the fire around 1 a.m. Monday.

“When we opened the bedroom door, there was so much smoke, we couldn’t see anything,” he said. “We had to feel our way around, go to the back of the house, smash out a window and get out through the back,” because the stairs were engulfed in flames.

While breaking through the window, Thompson injured himself, leaving him with stitches and a bandaged right hand.

RELATED: ‘Worst day’: Fire chief says 2 found dead, 2 remain unaccounted for in Oshawa blaze

He said the owner of the home then went to the third floor and smashed out some windows for the two men who lived there as tenants.

“He screamed for them, but there was no answer,” said Thompson. “They were already either overcome by smoke or heat. There was no answer whatsoever so they didn’t make it out.”

Thompson added that a couple and one of their sons were on the first floor and made it out of the home. Two other boys who were in bed on the second floor unfortunately did not, due to a misunderstanding during the chaotic situation.

“I thought the father had them, he thought we had them,” he said, tearing up. “By the time we realized they were still in there, the house was engulfed in flames. Flames were shooting out the window, it was impossible to go back in.”

“I freaked out…panicked…heart racing. I knew they weren’t going to get out,” he added.

Thompson said he was absolutely helpless, describing the feeling as having his hands tied. He explains that even the firefighters could not get into the home due to the size and temperature of the fire.

“I couldn’t help anybody, that’s what’s bothering me the most” he said through tears. “I think everybody should have gotten out.”

Thompson said he only returned to the area to meet one of the victim’s brothers who lives on the street, but cannot bring himself to visit the wreckage.

“I can’t look at this house right now,” he said.

On Monday evening, two bodies were recovered from the home and two other people are still unaccounted for at this time. Their ages and other details have not been released.

The fire sent a total of four residents from the home to hospital and three were released the same day. One resident remains in hospital with serious injuries.

With files from News Staff

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