SIMCOE, ONT. -- Provincial police were able to rescue one person from a fire in downtown Simcoe, Ont. Monday night, but a second occupant did not survive.

OPP Const. Ed Sanchuk says an officer was on patrol in downtown Simcoe, just before 10 p.m. when they noticed a fire in an apartment on Culver Street.

The officer then called for another to help and the pair quickly helped a man in his 60s with mobility issues escape a lower unit.

The officers then climbed the exterior stairs of the multi-unit commercial apartment to try to rescue anyone who may be inside on the upper floor.

Norfolk County's fire prevention officer, Cory Anderson-Smith, says the officers were blocked by a locked door.

Moments later Simcoe-based firefighters arrived and entered the apartment, but unfortunately it was too late.

They found a man and a small dog inside. The dog was already deceased, but the man was rushed to hospital where he later succumbed to his injuries.

The loss of life, and the actions of police to save another, have left a mixed mood in Simcoe.

“I was hoping to hear that no one was seriously hurt but it’s sad to hear someone has unfortunately lost their life,” said Kathy Robbins, who works nearby.

She’d also seen the heavy smoke and flames billowing from the fire Monday night.

Police share their condolences for the family of the man who died.

However, Sanchuk also commends his colleagues for the rescue effort on the lower floor. He says one of the officers is also a volunteer firefighter.

“When you’re on patrol you never know what you’re going to run into. In this case, these two officers saved this man’s life from the basement apartment. If it wasn’t for them getting him out we could’ve had, probably, a double fatality here.”

Police say the man rescued is OK. He was briefly able to return to the scene to collect some belongings.

Norfolk County Fire says seven engines from five volunteer fire departments where called in to contain the blaze.

The Ontario Fire Marshal’s Office has been called to the scene to determine a cause.

There is no damage estimate at this time, but police say the building, an older structure, is heavily damaged.