Hundreds of people were forced out of their apartment units as a fire raced through the upper floors of a Donald Street apartment building Monday morning. 

Flames and heavy smoke were visible on the 10th floor of 1244 Donald Street when firefighters responded to calls at just after 10.30 am.

A rescue ladder was used to escort three people who were stranded on balconies.

Residents who live on the 9th to 17th floors will not be allowed back into their units.

Firefighters remained on scene Monday afternoon helping residents retrieve essential items before being escorted out the building.

Many residents have taken shelter at an adjacent apartment building.

An OC Transpo bus was also used to keep people warm as the Red Cross and Salvation Army responded with emergency help.