LYNN (CBS) – A massive fire destroyed an apartment building in Lynn and left dozens of people homeless. Flames and thick black smoke spilled out of the roof of the 18-unit building on Broad Street Monday afternoon.

Most residents were out of the building when firefighters arrived at about 4:00 p.m. One woman, who lives on the top floor, was rescued by firefighters and taken to a Boston hospital with serious burns.

“Two firefighters searched her room, found her in her bedroom and got her right to the street, onto an ambulance and out of here,” Lynn Fire Chief James McDonald said.

Firefighters battle fire on Broad Street in Lynn (WBZ-TV)

Firefighters were ordered out of the building after about an hour and fought the fire from ladder trucks for several hours Monday night.

The fire appears to have started on the third floor, forcing about 28 residents out of their homes. McDonald said crews were facing several challenges from the wind and water pressure issues, to the building potentially collapsing.

“It’s going to collapse before we leave here, I guarantee it,” McDonald said. “That roof is going to come in, we’re going to be here all night.”

Fire burns at apartment building on Broad Street in Lynn (WBZ-TV)

The State Fire Marshal is at the scene and is assisting with the investigation.

Third floor resident Christine Cyr said her fiancé evacuated the building so quickly that he was unable to grab their two cats and two birds.

WBZ-TV’s Louisa Moller reports

“The whole roof caved down, the whole building. They couldn’t put the fire out for hours,” Cyr said. “I lost my babies so, kind of numb. It doesn’t seem real.”

The Red Cross is now assisting at least 12 families.

Approximately 100 firefighters responded to the fire including crews from several nearby communities including Swampscott, Salem and Marblehead.