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Resident in 'critical condition' after an overnight apartment fire on Adelaide Street North

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Charred debris sits outside the door of an upper level apartment unit at 571 Adelaide St. N., just south of Central Avenue.

A woman, believed to be the lone occupant of the unit, was removed from the three-storey walk-up by crews with the London Fire Department.

"Crews were able to get in, do a search, and rescue one on individual,” said Platoon Chief Colin Shewell. “They were able to hand them over to Middlesex-London Paramedic Services for care and transport to [Victoria] hospital."

Emergency responders were called to the apartment around 1:20 a.m., and found fire and smoke had spread throughout the unit.

Two residents who spoke with CTV News said they're familiar with the woman, admitting that her behaviour could sometimes be erratic.

"She, sort of, knocks on everyone’s doors, especially newcomers who move in. Just strange acts, you know, and requests and things like that," said Leita Saysombath.

Saysombath said some people have complained, but most were understanding, "I know there were a few outcries here and there. You know how everything is; it's always that [Genovese] effect, the bystander effect, but everyone tries their best to help."

Charred debris can be see outside the door of an upper-level apartment unit at 571 Adelaide St. N. in London, Ont., on March 24, 2023. (Gerry Dewan/CTV News London)

A man who lives just doors down from the woman, but didn’t want to be identified, reported the same behaviours.

He said the woman would often let her cat roam the halls. He retrieved a cat from a smoke-filled hallway and handed it over to fire crews as he left the building. The fire department said one cat perished in the fire.

Shewell said crews were able to get the fire out within half-an-hour of arriving, but admits apartment unit fires can be challenging.

"There's a very heavy fire-load in these type of apartments, and small areas for our crews to work in. Generally there is a lot of stuff, combustible stuff, and that makes it very difficult to fight," said Shewell.

Broken windows are visible in an upper-unit of an apartment complex at 571 Adelaide St. N. in London, Ont. A fire that occurred on March 24, 2023, in the unit sent one woman to hospital with critical injuries. (Gerry Dewan/CTV News London)

A lone police vehicle remained stationed at the apartment complex Friday, with the investigation now headed by the London Street Crimes Unit.

Shewell said the Ontario Fire Marshal's Office has been contacted.

The police investigation will be supported by the OFM and members of the London Fire Department Fire Investigations Unit. Shewell said that the investigation likely won't begin in earnest until Saturday.

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