The fire chief in Bath says it could be days or weeks before a nursing home in the community will reopen after a fire forced the evacuation of the building Wednesday.

About 40 residents were taken out of the River View Manor when the building filled with smoke.

"When we arrived they directed us to the back of the building," said Fire Chief Stephen Armour. "We found smoke in the electrical room, which had done extensive damage to the building."

Armour said a blown transformer caused the fire.

As firefighters quickly put out the flames, residents were moved from the smoke-filled building to a makeshift evacuation centre at the nearby elementary school.

More than 50 employees of River View Manor helped move the residents using stretchers and wheelchairs. Some were transported in ambulances.

Scott Green, the administrator for the Manor, said the residents were moved from their rooms to front lounge within minutes.

"Things went quite well, actually," he said.

Two residents had to be treated in hospital for smoke inhalation.

At the Bath Elementary School, residents were given blankets, and something to eat and drink.

While officials assess the damage, some of the displaced residents will stay with family members. Others will be moved to the hospital or nursing homes in Perth-Andover and Hartland.