NEW LONDON, Conn. (WTNH) – A fire ripped through an apartment complex, displacing 21 people including nine children, according to the Norwich Fire Department.

Norwich Fire responded at 5:11 a.m. Sunday to 51 14th Street to a structure fire in the Greeneville section of the city. Firefighters immediately utilized a hose line to prevent the fire from spreading to a neighboring house as the flames continued throughout the attic.

However, firefighters struggled to reach the attic due to narrow stairs given the age of the building, according to the department. While searching for a missing person who was later found outside, firefighters rescued several cats and a bird from the building.

A partial roof collapse and “advancing fire conditions” forced the firefighters out of the building. Three aerial ladder water streams with four exterior hose lines were used, bringing the fire under control.

One firefighter suffered a minor hand injury, but no other injuries were reported.

The Red Cross responded to the scene, aiding 12 adults and nine children. All were residents who were considered displaced.

Norwich Fire was assisted by several neighboring departments, including Mohegan Tribal and New London Fire Departments Firefighter Assist and Search Teams (F.A.S.T.). This includes units from all Norwich Volunteer Fire Departments, Taftville, Yantic, Occum, East Great Plain, and Laurel Hill. The Norwich Building Department, Norwich Public Utilities, and Canteen 1 also provided on-scene assistance.

The fire is currently under investigation by the Norwich Fire Marshal’s office with assistance from Norwich Police.