BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Residents of an Elmwood Avenue apartment building have been allowed back into their homes after an early morning fire that left behind hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of damage.

Firefighters responded to the 138-unit building at 505 Elmwood just before 4 a.m. and were quickly able to contain the fire, but it caused about $500,000 worth of damage to the building and another $250,000 to the building’s contents, fire officials said.

The fire started in an apartment on the fourth floor of the building, where someone was carelessly smoking, Deputy Fire Commissioner Jonathan Eaton said.

Fire crews had to rescue someone from the fourth floor balcony. That person and a person who lived in the apartment directly above the one where the fire started were taken to ECMC to be checked out.

While many residents were told to shelter in place in their apartments while firefighters battled the flames, other residents had to evacuate.

Joseph Cramer, who lives on the fourth floor on the opposite side of the building from where the fire started, said he received quite the wake up call when firefighters knocked on his door to tell him to evacuate. “Nobody knocks on my door, so I know when somebody knocks on my door it must be something, especially at that time in the morning,” he said, “So when they say a fire, the only thing you can do is hurry up and get your clothes on and go.”

A Salvation Army Disaster Services truck was on site, providing food and coffee for those at the scene.

Residents were allowed to return to their apartments by around 5:30 a.m. Fire officials say there is water damage to the apartments below the one where the fire started.