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Hamilton row homes fire displaces 24

Fire fighters battle a fire on King Street East at Victoria Avenue in Hamilton on Dec. 14, 2012. CITYNEWS.

A fire that ripped through five row houses in downtown Hamilton on Friday morning left one man in hospital with severe smoke inhalation and displaced 24 people.

The fire began in a coin shop on King Street East at Victoria Avenue around 1:30 a.m. and spread to neighbouring homes.

A man who lived in a basement apartment was taken to hospital, while a woman was treated at the scene for smoke inhalation.

The five homes, believed to be 100 years old, were divided into as many as 20 apartments, according to witnesses at the scene.

“All my son’s pictures from the time he was a baby, Christmas gifts — everything — it’s gone. It’s all gone,” Arlene Luke told CityNews.

The heavy smoke from the multiple-alarm status fire forced the evacuation of a nearby seniors’ home and at least one other building.

A multiple-alarm status fire is similar to a three-alarm fire.

It’s not yet known what caused the fire or the cost of the damage. The Ontario Fire Marshal’s office is investigating.

Anyone who’d like to help the families who lost everything in the fire should contact the Canadian Red Cross.