LOWELL (CBS) – Residents escaped serious injury during an early morning 4-alarm fire in Lowell.

Lowell resident Steve Gonzalez, 46, knows he’s fortunate to be alive after a fire ripped through the three-story multifamily apartment building on Cross Street early Saturday morning. He lives on the top floor.

“When I came out the building the house blew up side of it went boom the flames were sky high it was horrible,” he said. “I heard people screaming, so I ran to my kitchen and opened the window my face almost got burnt up. Within seconds my house was full of black smoke I had to crawl on my knees to get out of the building.”

“I just moved in a month ago, and I lost everything,” Gonzalez added.

Firefighters had to help evacuate the building when they arrived.

Lowell Fire chief Jeff Winward says, “We had a problem with heat exhaustion.” Three people were taken to the hospital, treated and later released.

Firefighters also saved three cats and a dog. Fire investigators say the smoke detectors were working.

A total of 35 people have been displaced. The Red Cross is helping those families in need.

The cause of the blaze remains under investigation.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Karyn Regal and WBZ-TV’s Paul Burton contributed to this report.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Karyn Regal reports

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