A fire in a 6th-floor suite forced tenants to evacuate a 10-storey high-rise, just north of downtown Edmonton early Friday morning.

Firefighters got the call just before 6 a.m. from Royal Alex Place on 111th Avenue and 101st Street.

Crews managed to bring the fire under control in less than 25 minutes, containing it to the 6th-floor suite where it started.

While some residents managed to get out of the smoke-filled highrise on their own, about 40 people had to be rescued from their balconies.

"I woke up and I was choking," said Eddy Essien. "I woke up in the apartment filled with black smoke."

"The first thing we did was emergency procedure putting towels under the door."

Essien, his brother and his brother's girlfriend made their way to the balcony, where fire crews helped them down with a rescue ladder.

One woman was taken to hospital with minor injuries.

Residents began returning to their suites around 8:30 a.m.

Investigators determined a candle burning in a bedroom caused the fire. Damages are estimated at $500,000.