By Lisa Gresci

CAMBRIDGE (CBS) – Several people were rescued in an overnight fire at an apartment building in Cambridge.

Firefighters were called to the eight-story Continental Gardens Apartments on Concord Avenue just before midnight.

Cambridge Fire Chief Gerry Mahoney said there was heavy fire on the third floor when they arrived. Firefighters were seen up on balconies helping people get out of their apartments.

Mahoney said most of the damage could have been avoided.

“I want to stress that a building such as this with fire damage such as this, this is the reason we advocate for fire sprinklers. This building, obviously because of when it was constructed, did not require sprinklers. But had there been fire sprinklers in this building this never would have never progressed to the level that it did,” he told reporters early Wednesday.

The fire chief said several people, including two firefighters, were hurt, but none of the injuries are life-threatening.

Nancy Kilburn, who lives a couple doors down from where the fire occurred, echoed Mahoney’s sentiment about a need for sprinklers in the building.

“I really thought, ‘Ok, there weren’t sprinklers in the building?’ Why not spend the money and why not make it kind of a zoning thing that you have to have sprinklers in apartment buildings where this sort of thing can happen,” said Kilburn. “And it puts the firefighters at risk, it puts, my God, residents at risk sleeping at night. That’s so scary.”

There’s no word yet on how or where the fire started.

None of the residents have been allowed back in yet.

Lisa Gresci