Caledonia apartment complex fire kills 2, displaces dozens

Two people are dead and dozens have been evacuated after an early morning fire at an apartment complex in Caledonia on Saturday.

Firefighters found female cat without collar near the apartment

Two people are dead and dozens have been evacuated after an early morning fire at an apartment complex in Caledonia on Saturday.

Emergency crews responded to a fire report at an apartment complex on Argyle Street North around 3 a.m.

Upon arrival, firefighters found a “heavily involved fire” at a unit on the third floor of the complex, said Haldimand Fire Chief Rob Grimwood. They put out the fire fairly quickly and started searching for victims.

Grimwood said "an elderly man," estimated to be in his 60s, was found in the main area of the unit. A woman was found in the bedroom later.

Both victims were pronounced dead at the scene.

The Office of the Ontario Fire Marshal is investigating.

Grimwood said the fire never left the unit, but there's smoke and water damage to the neighbouring units in the three-storey, 30-unit apartment.

All residents have been evacuated from the complex. It's unclear when the residents can return to their homes.

Residents displaced, cat found

Grimwood estimated that about 70 residents are affected by the fire. In particular, the units next to where the fire took place suffered significant smoke damage, and the units below them were damaged by water. 

"There's a good chance five or six units won't be reoccupied immediately," Grimwood told CBC Hamilton.

Most displaced residents have found temporary accommodation through friends and family, according to Jude Andrew, disaster management coordinator with the Canadian Red Cross. A handful of residents stayed at a church across the street and were provided with lunch.

Firefighters found a cat, a female roughly one year old, near the apartment after the fire. (Sunnie Huang/CBC)

A community meeting was arranged Saturday afternoon at the church to update residents on the progress of the investigation. Volunteers have brought donations, such as clothes, shoes and combs for residents to pick up.

Firefighters also found a cat, a female that appears to be around one year old, near the apartment after the fire. It doesn't have a collar.

Andrew said if the owner is one of the residents displaced, they may be reunited with the cat at the meeting. The SPCA has also been notified.