Nine people are homeless following an early morning fire at 144 West North Street in Ilion.

Ilion Police say high winds caused the fire to spread quickly, resulting in the two-story structure becoming quickly engulfed in flames.

All ten occupants of the building were able to flee their apartments safely.

The fire was brought under control in about two hours, but the structure is deemed a total loss. Police say the building will be torn down due to the danger its poses and the instability of the remaining walls.

Seven young children and their parents were displaced as a result of the fire.  They're being assisted by the American Red Cross.

Police say the investigation into the cause of the fire is continuing, but it appears the fire was accidentally started by a young child playing with a lighter.

The Ilion Fire Department was assisted by crews from the Herkimer, East Herkimer, Frankfort and Mohawk Fire Departments.

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