A fire at a Surrey, B.C. apartment building has displaced 13 families, including five whom firefighters were forced to rescue from balconies on the third floor.

The second-alarm blaze was sparked at around 3 a.m. in the north stairway of the building, located at 108th Avenue and 150th Street.

Fire Battalion Chief Doug Munn said firefighters arrived to find the third floor hallway "totally compromised with smoke and heat," trapping some residents inside their homes.

The building was quickly evacuated with only a few minor injuries reported. Three people were taken to hospital for minor smoke inhalation while a fourth was treated for cuts.

The cause of the fire has not been determined. Munn said it is too early to deem it suspicious.

The building, which sustained heavy smoke damage on all three floors, will need to be assessed for safety before residents can return.

"They will be able to return at some point," Munn said.