LONDON, ONT. -- A fire near Sarnia’s downtown core has left one person dead, police say.

Emergency crews were called to the 100 block of Stuart Street near Davis Street around 12:30 p.m. Wednesday for the blaze.

Witness Chad Xuereb says a man was removed from a garage at the residence.

“They carried somebody out,” he tells CTV News.

He added that emergency crews were quick to respond and that he, and others at the scene, never imagined someone might be inside the garage.

Sarnia police have confirmed one person was removed from the residence and pronounced deceased. His identity has not been released.

Xuereb says the scene is disturbing at a tough time, “So close to Christmas and with everything going on with COVID. It’s just sad.”

An investigation into the fire is ongoing, and the area is expected to remain cordoned off to traffic for awhile yet. The Office of the Ontario Fire Marshal has also been called in.

Anyone with information on the fire is asked to contact Det.-Const. Brian Halfpenny at 519-344-8861 ext. 6213 or Sarnia-Lambton Crime Stoppers.