PORT HARDY -- Three people were taken to hospital Sunday night after a fire broke out in an apartment complex in Port Hardy shortly before midnight. The trio sustained injuries as they leapt out of their apartment window, unable to exit through the building’s hallways because of thick smoke.

"(There were) multiple calls coming in, dispatch told us there were people jumping out of the windows so (it) got the blood rushing," said Port Hardy fire chief Brent Borg.

Borg says around 30 firefighters attended the scene, and those who jumped from the building were out when they arrived, some suffering from injuries.

"The fire was in the hallways so these people opened up their door and saw nothing but a wall of flame," said Borg. "So they chose not to go that route and (got) out the windows. "

Tenant Andrew Dawson says many residents ignore the building's fire bells because they ring frequently. He was watching television when the bells started ringing and looked out of his apartment door to find thick smoke in the hall. He then ran along the hallways banging on people's doors.

Once he had finished that, he found relatives in his second-floor apartment preparing to put a blanket out the window so they could climb down. He yelled for them to jump out and prepared to catch them. He caught his wife as well as his uncle's girlfriend and sustained slight injuries while the others were more seriously injured.

He says the ordeal didn't really hit him until it was over.

"As soon as the adrenaline wore off, man was I ever in for it. Non-stop crying, just, it was scary," Dawson told CTV News. "I've never been a part of that kind of stuff."

RCMP and fire investigators were back at the scene on Monday and were focusing part of their attention on a mattress that was on fire in the hallway near an exit.

After going through the building, Borg says the incident further supported the fire department's "close before you doze" saying. He says the fire was contained to the hallway because the apartment building’s doors were closed.

"When we went through the floor and saw the damage in the building we were opening up the apartment doors and every apartment on that floor was pristine. It's very important to close those doors, they act as a fire barrier," said the fire chief.

Port Hardy RCMP are asking anyone with information on the fire to contact them.