CHELSEA (CBS) – Firefighters from several cities responded to a fire at an apartment building in Chelsea Friday. Flames broke out at 21 High Street at about 5:00 pm.

When firefighters arrived, the multi-unit building was engulfed and outside, one of the residents was unresponsive after suffering a heart attack while trying to put out the flames himself.

“There was a group of people trying to put the fire out when we arrived, he was one of them and then he dropped,” said Chelsea Fire Deputy Chief John Quatieri.

Fire burns at apartment building on High Street in Chelsea (WBZ-TV)

“He was doing everything he could to keep the fire from getting into his house,” Quatieri said. “Unfortunately it took a toll on him hopefully he does well at the hospital.”

The firefight was especially challenging for responding crews from several neighboring cities. Thick black smoke shut down the Chelsea off-ramp on the Tobin Bridge and at one point, a firefighter became disoriented on the roof, and had to be rescued before flames gutted the building.

“We had to order everybody out of the building for the firefighters’ safety,” Quatieri said.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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