PITTSFIELD —  Five families were left homeless, after city fighters quickly stopped a two-alarm blaze on Woodlawn Avenue on Sunday afternoon.

Around 1:40 p.m., three fire engines and a tower truck were dispatched to 203 Woodlawn Ave, near the intersection with Springside Avenue. Once there, firefighters found flames coming from three first floor windows that were quickly spreading to the second floor and threatening the third floor.

Deputy Fire Chief Matthew Noyes immediately called a second alarm, bringing all 18 on-duty firefighters to the scene.  Noyes said firefighters aggressively attacked the main body of the blaze and saved the three-story wooden structure.

"The guys made a great stop.  I couldn't believe how fast they got to the flames," Noyes said.

All 18 occupants from the five apartments escaped unharmed, according to Noyes.

"We were very lucky everyone got out safely and none of our crews were hurt," he said.

Both the American Red Cross and the Pittsfield Salvation Army were called to help find temporary shelter for the displaced residents.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Dick Lindsay can be reached at rlindsay@berkshireeagle.com