Three people are being hailed as heroes for helping rescue an elderly man from an apartment fire in Winnipeg.

Two men were working in a fourth-floor suite of an apartment at Sargent Avenue and Balmoral Street on Thursday at about 2 p.m. when they noticed smoke and flames two floors below.

They raced out of the building and went to look at the flames shooting from the balcony of the suite. That's when they heard screaming and went back in to help.

"[It's] kind of crazy how quick everything changed from just laying tiles to being inside a smokey, on-fire apartment," said Darcy Vaughan.

"It was just like, smoke, black smoke, because it was all like a lot of plastic and stuff like that that was burning in there."

He and Albert Thomas found the man's apartment but it was full of smoke. Thomas was able to grab the man and then Vaughan got hold of him as well.

About the same time, a patrolling police officer saw the fire. After reporting it, he ran into the block and up to the second floor where he met with Vaughan and Thomas inside the suite.

All four people got safely out of the building as other emergency crews arrived to fight the flames.

The officer and the elderly man were treated for minor injuries.

“My understanding is that there was a fair amount of smoke within that suite and if people had not intervened then quite possibly he could have succumbed to his injuries,” said Const. Eric Hofley.

“We’re not heroes – nothing like that,” said Vaughn. “Just Albert and Darcy.”

The cause of the fire has not yet been determined but damage is estimated at $150,000.