Three people are dead after an overnight fire in a city west of Toronto that began in one house and spread to another.

Hamilton Fire Department spokesman Claudio Mostacci says firefighters were called to the scene at about 4:30 a.m. (2030 GMT) Saturday. He said 11 people were in the homes on Niagara Street at the time of the fire.

Mostacci says the three bodies, which firefighters initially were unable to locate, were found at the scene Saturday afternoon.

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Seven people were hospitalized and one escaped uninjured.

Mostacci says firefighters were forced to abandon their search-and-rescue efforts before they were finished because of concerns that the structures might collapse.