ELIZABETH, New Jersey (WABC) -- Firefighters battled a large fire that tore through a residential building in New Jersey Wednesday afternoon.
The 4-alarm blaze broke out at about 3:40 p.m. at a two-story multiple family complex on Westfield Avenue in Elizabeth, and quickly burned through the roof.
The smoke could be seen from miles away.
"Upon arrival we were met with heavy fire from the second floor of the main fire building," said Elizabeth Fire Chief Thomas McNamara. "Shortly thereafter our guys did an aggressive fire attack."
The families inside the building all got out safely, but firefighters found themselves in a lot more danger inside when the roof collapsed.
"We had people inside when it collapsed," said McNamara. "It blew out part of the front wall on us so it was touch and go there for awhile for the firefighters."
The fire spread to one other structure, but there was only minor damage to the homes on either side.
There were no reports of injuries. Firefighters were still working on hot spots on the roof late into the night.
About 20 people were displaced from their homes and are being assisted by the Red Cross.
Residents of other nearby buildings were evacuated as a precaution.
The cause of the fire is under investigation. Westfield Avenue was shut down in both directions.
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Firefighters battle 4-alarm fire at residential building in Elizabeth, New Jersey