Fire officials in Sudbury say two recent apartment building fires may have been entirely preventable.

Two apartment buildings have gone up in flames in the past five days — one on Mabel Street, the other on Fairview Avenue.

Sudbury Fire Department public safety officer Leo Frappier said investigators haven't pinpointed the cause of the fires, but they heard from people at both sites that careless smoking may have been a factor. Frappier is pleading with people to be careful.

"If you do smoke, try to smoke outside. Don't smoke inside your home," he said. "And if you do smoke, please don't smoke at night and please don't smoke in your bedrooms."

The province’s Fire Marshal is helping in the investigation.

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The official cause of the fires at Mabel Street and Fairview Avenue has not been determined, but on official says people at both sites mentioned the chance of smoking as the reason. (CBC)

Finding shelter

A total of 17 people were displaced by the two fires.

The Red Cross provides people in need with a room in a motel for up to three days, then the city's co-ordinator of shelters and homelessness takes over.

"We understand people are very vulnerable in this situation and the city does have a good support system in place for people who have suddenly become homeless," Gail Spencer said.

Spencer said help ranges from extending their motel stay to finding people an apartment.

So far, a couple of people from each building have contacted her, and she said she expects more displaced people will require the city's help in the next few days.