The five-alarm blaze that broke out at a North York highrise and sent one person to a hospital is now under control.

Crews were called to a 15-storey building on Gosford Boulevard, just north of Jane Street and Shoreham Drive just before 5:30 p.m.

When Toronto Fire arrived, visible flames and heavy smoke could be seen billowing out of balconies.

The fire broke out on the 7th floor of the building before spreading to multiple floors, Toronto Fire Chief Matthew Pegg told reporters.

"Our crews have successfully located, rescued and removed a number of patients. They are now in the care of Toronto Paramedic Services," he said.

Pegg said six people were transferred to paramedics. One person was transported to a hospital in serious condition, Toronto paramedics said.

The fire was declared under control around 9:30 p.m.

Pegg said they still have a lot of work to do. At the height of the blaze, 22 fire trucks and about 100 personnel were on the scene.

"We have about a second alarm assignment here, and I suspect that's what we'll be here for the next little bit," he said.

The fire chief said there all residents of the building has been accounted.

Firefighters have to climb floors physically because the elevators stopped working, Pegg said. Crews were fighting the blaze from the inside.

"That's the reason why we've accelerated to a fourth, and now fifth alarm is that the number of resources we require on scene to safely and effectively deal with a fire of this magnitude in a building this big when all of the elevator systems are out."

Mayor John Tory, who met with the residents, said he is satisfied by the remarkable work of the first responders to ensure all residents were safe.

"Some of the local residents are upset just at the fact that they're out of their homes, and they'd like to get back in their home," the mayor said. "So that I've explained to them that obviously they'll be allowed back in their homes as soon as the chief and others decide that it's safe."

Pegg said they will do everything in their ability to get as many people back into their units as soon as possible.

"We have a long night ahead of us."

'I was freaking out:' Residents describe what they saw

Michael Karikari, who lives on the eigth floor, said they were trapped in their unit as the fire spread.

"By the time everyone got ready, we couldn't exit because you open the door, and it was pitch-black. You couldn't see anything."

His family decided to go to the balcony and saw the unit beside theirs was already on fire.

"We didn't know what to do," Karikari said. "It was coming closer to us, and then the smoke was suffocating us."

Karikari said he was worried about his father, who was not in his best shape. Paramedics later assessed his father.

He said they were rescued by firefighters, who broke their door to gain entry to the unit.

"It was a relief when I saw them," Karikari said. "In that situation, all you have is hope."

Another resident, Comfort Obeng, was sleeping when she smelled something burning.

Obeng said she grabbed her daughter out of their unit after seeing smoke in the hallway.

Maria Vidal, who lives across in another building, said she heard people screaming for help.

"You want them to be safe, but you can't do anything about it," she said.

Vidal said she felt helpless watching the fire spread in the building.

Giovanna Manfriniv was on her 9th-floor unit when the fire alarm rang out and saw smoke coming out.

"We couldn't get down because all the stairs have smoke, and the elevators were blocked," she said.

"I was freaking out. I called my mom because I was so scared."

At some point, Manfriniv said she heard people shouting they could not breathe because of the smoke.

Manfriniv said firefighters advised her to stay in her unit and wait in her balcony until it was safe to evacuate.

"I was freaking out. I called my mom because I was so scared."

The city has opened the Driftwood Community Centre for residents who are displaced by the fire.