VANCOUVER - Firefighters are commending residents for the way they handled a Halloween inferno and evacuation at a West End high rise.

Flames broke out in a 16th floor apartment at Sunset Plaza around 6:30 Thursday evening – initially only a dim glow visible from CTV’s Chopper 9 -- before the heat burst the balcony doors and a side window, sending flames shooting out of the building.

Firefighters, who had to climb the stairs carrying hoses and gear to attack the flames, managed to keep most of the damage to the suite where the fire began.

Asst. Fire Chief Trevor Connelly credited the quick-thinking actions of the man in the unit because he shut the doors behind him as he fled.

"Even the thinnest of interior doors can really slow the spread of a fire down so that was great, excellent action by that occupant to do that,” said Connelly.

In older buildings without sprinkler systems firefighters say people should began evacuating the building as soon as they hear fire alarms and they say residents responded well in this situation.

"It's a building that's not sprinklered,” said Connelly. “It's critical that people react to the alarms and take action. You need to know the plan that's specifically laid out for your building."

According to Connelly, there are times when firefighters in Vancouver will advise people to shelter in place during a fire, but only in newer buildings built to more modern codes with enhanced fire suppression systems, including sprinklers.

Nobody was injured in the Halloween night fire, but the man in the suite where the fire began and two people in the unit next door have been displaced from their homes.