Three people died in a house fire in Brampton early Tuesday morning and a child was taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries.

By the time firefighters arrived on scene shortly after 4 a.m., a basement tenant had escaped his unit, broken down the door to the main floor and saved a young girl, said Brampton Fire Chief Michael Clark.

The child suffered third-degree burns and smoke inhalation and was rushed to Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto.

"I don't think the fire was that bad from a property perspective, but it certainly involved a big portion of the main floor," Clark said.

"The smoke can obviously kill people and spreads quickly throughout the house."

Clark said firefighters attacked the fire from the front of the house and had the blaze under control in 10 minutes. He said it appeared the fire started on the main floor in the living room.

Firefighters then entered the house through the side and searched the basement before making their way upstairs, he said.

There, Clarke said, firefighters found three bodies in the bedrooms of the main unit in the semi-detached house.

He did not reveal the age of the injured girl or the ages and genders of the dead.

Neighbours said a family of four, including two daughters, lived on the main level of the semi-detached house.

Peel District School Board spokeswoman Carla Pereira said one of the victims graduated from one of their high schools last June, while the girl who was rescued is a current elementary school student.

She said a critical incident response team is on hand to support friends of the high school grad who are still students, as well as current schoolmates of the younger girl.

"They will stay as long as they're needed to support students and staff who require that level of support -- someone to talk to or someone to help them understand how something like this could happen," Pereira said.

Neighbour Raman Brar said by the time she left her house at 5:30 a.m., the fire was already out, only smoke billowing from the home two doors down.

"This is so sad," Brar said. "They were a good family, a nice family."

Waqar Chaudery lives across the street and said police told him three people in the same family were dead and the family's youngest child was in hospital.

"This is shocking, I'm not sure what to say," Chaudery said.

"I will miss the father -- my fellow countryman from Pakistan."

The fire chief said he was unsure whether there were any working smoke alarms in the home, but said firefighters didn't hear any alarms upon arrival. Brampton Fire, Peel regional police and the Ontario Fire Marshal are investigating.

It's the latest in a string of deadly house fires in Ontario over the last few months.

Four family members died in a fire in Port Colborne, Ont., in mid-December. About 12 hours later, a fire ripped through a home on Oneida Nation of the Thames, killing four children and their father.

On Christmas Eve, a mother, father and their two sons died in a blaze in a cottage near Peterborough, Ont. Two others died in a fire near Chatham-Kent in late January.