Fifteen people are homeless after a fire ripped through their apartment building in New Waterford, N.S., early Saturday morning.

Fire departments from Glace Bay, New Victoria and Scotchtown battled the blaze on Plummer Avenue, alongside New Waterford Fire. Many remained onsite hours after the fire began.

“It was an old building,” said New Waterford Fire Chief Lenny Barrington. “Many apartments in it (were) hard to get in. It was hard to fight. The weather conditions weren't that great. We had high winds, freezing rain, ice buildup.”

A man in his 50s jumped from a second-storey window and is currently in hospital suffering from smoke inhalation and broken ribs. No one was seriously injured.

Several nearby homes were evacuated due to radiant heat and smoke coming from the blaze. Residents say they were startled by the unexpected wakeup call.

“When you're woken up at 5:30 a.m. (with) someone pounding on your door, it was a bit scary not knowing what was going on,” said nearby resident John MacGillvary.

Tenants gathered at a Tim Hortons while crews battled the fire.

“They were all huddled in the corner,” said MacGillvary. “I guess they were in shock.”

The Canadian Red Cross is providing meals and emergency lodging for the displaced tenants. 

The cause of the fire remains unknown.