Two cats were killed and at least a dozen people are homeless due to a blaze that consumed an apartment building in Ste. Anne.

Residents managed to flee the blaze Monday and no other injuries were reported.

Damage is estimated $2 million from the fire, reported just after 11 p.m. on Monday.

"I feel sick when I look at it," said Christina Cherepak, who lived in the building.

It took 50 firefighters from four different communities about five hours to get the blaze under control.

Officials said the fire is believed to have been caused by careless disposal of a cigarette.

They say someone put out a cigarette in a planter containing peat moss on a balcony around 5:30 p.m. Monday. It then smoldered for about five hours before bursting into flames, said officials. 

"If you're going to butt out your cigarettes, make sure it's a metal container. Don't butt out in plastic containers," said Ken Dayment, Ste. Anne fire chief.

The fire began on the second floor and then spread to the roof.

While the building is considered a writeoff, officials said contents in some of its 12 suites may be salvageable.

The fire broke out just after 11 p.m. Monday night.

"It's a wonderful apartment to live in and the people were all wonderful and everyone's pretty devastated," said Christina Cherepak.

Officials said when they arrived on scene, the west side of the building was fully engulfed in flames. Neighbouring buildings were also evacuated.

Most of the people left homeless by the fire do not have insurance.

Carmelle Lilley from the Ste. Anne Hotel is trying to collect clothes for those who lost most of their belongings in the blaze, including children who escaped with only their pyjamas.

Anyone wanting to offer up donations can drop off items at the hotel.

Hotel officials are also considering launching a fundraiser.

While the apartment building is considered a writeoff, officials said some items inside might be salvageable. At the moment, however, it's not safe to enter the structure.

When it's safe to do so, items will be removed from the building and owners notified to come collect their things, said officials.

- with a report from CTV's Caroline Barghout