NEW BEDFORD -The New Bedford Fire Department responded to multiple emergency calls of a structure fire at a North Front Street apartment building on Thursday night.

According to District Fire Chief Bob Frates, the fire at 314 North Front Street started in the back of the first floor of the three-story residential building. Frates says that the station received calls of a structure fire at the residence at approximately 9:19 p.m. He says that by the time they responded the fire had spread rapidly.

“Upon arrival the whole rear of the building was on fire from the first floor right up to the roof, inside and out,” Frates said. “There was a heavy flame on the whole side of the house which is a big area.”

The District Chief also said that as fire crews arrived they had to immediately rescue a man who was trapped on the roof of the building in an attempt to escape the smoke and flames.

“Upon arrival there was someone on the roof. I guess he couldn't get out the rear stairwell which was engulfed, so climbed through the skylight onto the roof,” said Frates. “Two guys went up and escorted him off the roof.”

Frates says that the roof collapsed following the rescue as a result of further spread of the fire. He says “the fire spread up the rear of the building and into the attic, and once it got into the attic it mushroomed and the roof got involved and eventually collapsed.”

The cause of the fire is still under investigation by the state Fire Marshall and the New Bedford Fire Department. No injuries have been reported yet as a result of the flames. A total of seven engines, two trucks, and 35 firefighters responded to the fire.

We will update this story as soon as anymore information is becomes available.