Sean Tallant, NBCConnecticut.com
Fire officials said a rookie Bridgeport firefighter lives in one of the buildings and was first to smell the smoke.
One woman was injured and as many as 25 people have been displaced after a massive fire ripped through three multi-family homes in Bridgeport this morning.
The fire broke out around 2:30 a.m. on Tuesday at at 587-593 Brooks Street and appears to have started in the rear of the building.
Fire officials said a rookie firefighter lives in one of the buildings and was first to smell the smoke.
By the time crews got to the scene, the structure was completely engulfed and fire quickly spread to two neighboring houses.
Fire Chief Brian Rooney said the firefighters' efforts prevented the fire from spreading further and saved other houses from damage.
"The firefighters did a great job. This could have been much worse," he said.
The multifamily house where the fire started will likely have to be torn down, according to the mayor's office. The other two houses are uninhabitable, according to officials.
The entire street was evacuated as a precaution. One woman was taken to the hospital to be treated for burns and several people had to be treated for smoke inhalation.
Two firefighters issued a "mayday" while battling the blaze and were evacuated, according to officials.
The Red Cross responded to the scene to assist more than 70 victims, hand out blankets and take them to nearby shelters.
The city also brought in buses from Greater Bridgeport Transit to keep warm people who were evacuated.
Mayor Bill Finch met with displaced residents at the fire scene and at shelters the Emergency Operations Center set up at Luis Munoz Marin school and at a facility at 900 Pembroke St.
"This was a heroic effort by our firefighters during very difficult conditions," he said.
Crews were at the scene for more than four hours on Tuesday morning, trying to get the fire under control.
"We're a humble community but people in Bridgeport are awfully resilient," Finch said. "We will help them in any way that we can."
The cause is still under investigation.