A dozen people were left homeless by a fire Wednesday night at a 14-unit apartment building in downtown Sydney.

The fire started near the laundry room and left most of the building with smoke and water damage, although flames were quickly doused. Seven tenants took emergency accommodations from the Red Cross; others stayed with family and friends. Eight of the 14 apartments at 325 Bentinck St. were occupied at the time of the fire.

The cause is still under investigation.

The Red Cross says since Dec. 21, 2008, more than 165 people across the province have been affected by 42 house and apartment fires. The Red Cross is asking for donations to help with its emergency response. Visit redcross.ca to donate.