METHUEN (CBS) – Firefighters were forced to flee a massive apartment fire in Methuen as flames quickly spread to several units.

The fire was raging at 11 Ashton Place when crews responded Thursday night. One firefighter fell through the second floor and into a first floor bedroom, and called for a mayday. Methuen Fire Chief Tim Sheehy says that firefighter was located safe about five minutes later.

There are 24 units in the apartment building, and it is believed that everybody got out safely.

“The alarms went off and I come out of my house and I saw it was burning directly above my apartment,” said resident Dale Ripley. “Everybody got out safely and the fire department showed up.”

An emergency shelter has been set up at the Timothy School for anyone displaced from the fire.

The cause of the fire is being investigated.

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