A six-unit apartment building in Brantford is sitting empty after a Thursday afternoon fire.

Everyone in the building was able to safely evacuate the six-plex on Grey Street, but could only leave with the clothes on their backs, leaving most possessions behind.

The fire broke out in a kitchen in an apartment on the top floor of the building. Firefighters helped evacuate residents before tackling the fire.

“At this time [the fire] is under investigation. Electrical is a possible cause, but there are other possible causes as well,” says Brantford Fire spokesperson Scott Hardwick.

Wayne King lives across the street from the sixplex. He says one firefighter smashed a window with an axe to help vent black smoke from the building.

Residents say they’re thankful nobody was hurt in the blaze, but are anxious to be able to return home.

“It was scary, as any fire would be,” says Sarah Detmar, who lives in the apartment directly before where the fire was.

“We’re all safe, we’re all fine, we’re all happy. That’s what’s important.”

The building will remain empty until it is again safe for habitation. Its 19 residents have been relocated to a nearby motel with the assistance of the Red Cross.

“They’re putting us up in the hotel for two days. They’re looking after us, meals, clothing. They’re being absolutely wonderful,” says Detmar.

Fire investigators say the hardwired smoke detectors in the building helped alert residents to the fire, but the detector in the unit where the fire started wasn’t working at the time.