The fire started around 1:30 a.m. Friday morning. Since then, more than 50 firefighters have been on scene at 405 King St. E. near Victoria Avenue. The building is over 100 years old and is contained to a five-unit row house split into apartments.
A resident of one of the buildings in the complex, Marivic Sadcoy woke up at about 1:30 am to the sound of banging and the flashing of lights. She went outside to learn more about the commotion.
"I saw my neighbours were screaming. The firemen asked us to leave the building. That's when I went back and got some important things."
Fire crews were working well into Friday morning to douse the flames.
"The whole building flooded," Sadcoy said, sitting in a city bus used to shelter the residents. "We are all friends and help each other out," she said of her relationship with her neighbours, most of whom are immigrants from the Philippines.
"We just have got to start from the bottom and work our way back," she said. "But at least we're safe"
She said she didn't know where she was going to stay Friday night, but was assured by Red Cross officials that she and her neighbours would be given shelter.
Cliff Turkey lives nearby apartment building. He is searching for his sister Linda Turkey and her husband Frank Mercer. They live in one of the buildings that has been hit by the fire. Turkey said, "I'm going to try by best to find out about my sister and her husband, make some phone calls and try to find out anything I can."
Deputy Fire Chief David Cunliffe said firefighters are still battling hotspots. "We still have pockets of fire," he said. "We'll still be here most of the day dealing with this."
Firefighters had trouble getting into the unit where it is believed the fire began.
The Red Cross, which is located across the street, has been called in to assist the people who have been left homeless.
People in buildings nearby are being asked to keep their windows closed.
King Street East remains closed between East Avenue and West Avenue as does Victoria Avenue between Main Street East and King William Street.
The Fire Marshal's Office has been called by the Hamilton Fire Dept. Hamilton police officers are currently holding the scene pending the arrival of the fire marshal.
The investigation is ongoing.