Firefighters battle a massive fire at an apartment complex in Miami

Firefighters and police officers arrived at the building west of Interstate 95 near downtown Miami after receiving calls about the fire around 8:15 a.m. and began rescuing residents from the building’s balconies, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez said at a news conference.

Suarez said first responders who responded to the scene also found a man suffering from gunshot wounds.

He was taken to hospital, his condition is said to be critical. Authorities said the shooting is part of an active investigation. They provided few details other than calling it an “isolated incident.”

Firefighters battle a blaze in Miami as smoke billows from a building (Carl Juste/Miami Herald via AP)

Three firefighters were taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital for heat exhaustion and are in stable condition, Suarez said during a news conference.

Two people have since been released from the hospital, said Lt. Pete Sanchez, spokesman for City of Miami-Fire Rescue. In addition, at least one resident was treated for smoke inhalation, he added.

Sanchez said the gunshot victim, whose name was not released, was listed in critical condition.

Atlantic Housing Management, the company that manages the Temple Court apartments, said in a statement that one of its employees was found shot to death inside the complex.

“We are still investigating the cause of these incidents and checking for any other injuries. The police are investigating and we will assist in any way we can,” a statement from the management company said.

“We are saddened by everything that occurred today and our thoughts and prayers are with our team member, his family and the residents of the Temple Court community.”

Television helicopters showed flames rising from the building along with large plumes of smoke hours after the fire broke out.

A firefighter leaves the scene of a fire with foam on the ground (Lynne Sladky/AP)

Fire vehicles flooded the building with water and foam.

The apartment complex consists of one-bedroom apartments and studio apartments located near the Miami River.

“It was a wood-frame structure, which explains the intensity,” Sanchez said.

Early in the evening, Sanchez said the fire “was under control and no longer spreading, but still needed to be extinguished.”

Suarez said the building’s residents, many of them elderly, were taken to a temporary location where they were offered food and any needed medications. He added that at least 20 people were treated and reunited with their families, and another 20 were expected.

“We hope to be able to place them in permanent homes as soon as possible,” he said. “Of course, people are very emotional. They might not have been able to get anything that was in those units. Some people worry about their pets. It was very depressing, very traumatic.”

Suarez urged people who would like to help fire victims to contact the American Red Cross.

Smoke from the fire also billowed over Interstate 95 and much of downtown Miami.