A fire at a home in central Hamilton caused $400,000 in damage, Hamilton fire officials said Tuesday, and killed two family cats. 

Just after midnight, fire crews arrived at a home on St. Clair Boulevard and found a heavy fire with flames visible from the basement and heavy smoke coming from the first floor windows. Two people had escaped and were outside when crews arrived. 

Firefighters extinguished the fire and were able to keep it from spreading to the homes next door. But the fire caused "extensive" damage to the house — approximately $400,000 worth.

The people who live there have found another place to stay. What caused the fire is unknown but it is not believed to have been deliberately set.

Apartment fire 

A short time later, firefighters were called around 2 a.m. to an 18-storey building on Forest Avenue and Hughson Street. Someone had reported heavy smoke on the 17th floor.

Firefighters found a fire in the garbage chute on the second floor that was causing smoke problems on the 17th and 18th floors. 

They quickly extinguished the fire and vented the building to clear the smoke. There were no injuries. What caused the fire is unknown.

The damage is estimated at $10,000. Residents are without power while Alectra Utilities requests an inspection to the building's wiring, which got wet during the fire-fighting efforts.