Dozens of tenants are homeless after a fire ripped through an apartment building in Dieppe, N.B. Sunday evening.

“We heard people crying, screaming, and we were just like, ‘oh, what’s happening now?’” says resident Edine Goufe.

The 32-unit building caught fire around 10 p.m. and flames quickly ripped through the building, causing the roof to collapse and the stairwells to fill with smoke.

John Johnson, 87, and his wife had no choice but to leave their cats behind and climb down a ladder to escape the burning building.

“The place is on fire, let’s get the cat out and we gotta get ourselves out, but when the fire trucks arrived they put the ladder up to the balcony and we came down the ladder,” says Johnson.

The fire department worked for six hours to control the flames and hot spots.

All of the building’s 50 tenants managed to escape without injury. Several of the tenants had to be rescued by firefighters.

Two cats were found alive in the building Monday morning, but several other pets are still missing.

The residents are now in the care of the Canadian Red Cross, which is providing food and shelter.

Deputy Fire Chief Conrad Landry says there is significant water damage and the top floor is destroyed due to the roof collapse.

“That’s what’s making this investigation difficult, is that it’s under a lot of debris,” says Deputy Fire Chief Conrad Landry. “Now, the other two floors, it’s water damage, but no fire damage we can see at this time.”

He says the fire remains under investigation but officials are focusing on the fourth floor.

“We got to rule out anything, from electrical to lightning,” he says. “It was raining last night right, so it could have been lighting, could have been a stove. There was no one at the apartment that we think at this time.”

Fire officials say residents are not allowed back in the building just yet. They say they hope to wrap up their investigation soon, and will then hand the property over to the building’s owner.

With files from CTV Atlantic's Sarah Plowman