Restoration has begun at an apartment complex in Caledonia a day after a fatal fire that killed two people and left dozens of residents homeless.

Repairs started in units further away from the third-floor unit where the fire originated, according to Haldimand County Fire Chief Rob Grimwood.

Although the fire was contained to the unit, many homes at the 29-unit, three-storey complex suffered significant smoke and water damage, Grimwood said.

In particular, the units next to where the fire took place sustained significant smoke damage, and the units below were damaged by water.

The fire took place at one of the three apartment complex on Argyle Street North around 3 a.m. Saturday.

Caledonia apartment complex fire cat

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

Firefighters arrived to find a "heavily involved fire," Gridwood said. They put out the fire fairly quickly and started searching for victims.

A man and a woman, who both appeared to be in their 60s, were found in the apartment. They were pronounced dead at the scene.

The identities of the victims have not been released.

Two investigators from the Office of the Ontario Fire Marshal are on site to probe the circumstances of the fire. The investigation is expected to take several days.

Deaths hit community hard

All residents of the complex were evacuated immediately after the fire. Grimwood estimated about 70 people were affected. It is unclear when they can return to their homes.

Their neighbours' deaths hit the residents hard, Grimwood said.

"On the one hand, to be displaced ... is frustrating for them and there's not doubt," he told CBC Hamilton. "But on the other hand, it's such a tragedy they've lost two people in the building.”

Most displaced residents have found temporary accommodation through friends and family, Grimwood said. A shelter has also been set up to act as a gathering point for residents to pick up donations and receive updates.

Emergency crews also found several pets near the apartment after the fire and notified the SPCA. The charity will continue providing shelter and food for the animals while their owners sort out accommodations, Grimwood said.