UPDATE: Residents jump from windows to escape Cedar Rapids apartment fire

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- Cedar Rapids rescue crews say residents of an apartment building on the northeast side will likely have to find another place to spend the night after a fire there, Wednesday evening.

Neighbors say sometime before 5:30 p.m. they heard shouts for help coming from 2135 Blairs Ferry Rd NE.

"I look out my door and there were a couple people hanging from a window on the second story," said Justin Robinson, who lives next door to the three-story building. "The smoke was just rolling out."

Robinson called 911 and did what he could to help those evacuating the 12-unit structure.

Ashley Hanson, who also lives nearby, told TV9 she had joined a group of others who were holding a blanket to try and catch those dangling from the burning structure's windows.

"There was one guy hanging by his hands," said Hanson. "There was probably six or seven of us that just stretched out a blanket to catch him."

Hanson said the group was able to safely help the man.

"It was kind of crazy," she said. "I had never seen it unless you look in movies."

Battalion Chief Jason Andrews said when firefighters arrived they found smoke and flames coming from the second floor of the building, where he believed flames began.

In a news release, Andrews said crews rescued one person from the third floor.

"Firefighters made entry into the apartment and rescued an adult victim via ladder," said Andrews. "In total there were two injured transported to the hospital via ambulance and two victims that declined transport."

Andrews said all of the injuries were minor.

Firefighters were able to make quick work of the flames getting them under control about 10 minutes after arriving. The building was left uninhabitable.

"Significant fire damage to the apartment of origin, moderate water damage to the area in and around the fire apartment, and moderate smoke damage to the remainder of the structure," Andrews said in the release. "All tenants are displaced until the building is cleared by Cedar Rapids Building Services Division,"

Andrews said 10 of the 12 units were occupied at the time of the fire. He didn't have an exact number of displaced residents but said the Red Cross would be available for housing assistance.

The cause of the flames is under investigation.
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Cedar Rapids fire crews are responding to an apartment fire on Blairs Ferry Road NE near North Towne Lane NE.

Our crew on scene says the building has been evacuated and crews are currently working their way through the building to make sure everyone is out.

A portion of Blairs Ferry Road is closed as crews battle the fire.

Stay with KCRG-TV9 for updates as they become available.