Firefighters spent hours battling a major fire on Booth Avenue in Labrador City.

They were called to the scene just after 1:30 a.m.

The building that burned was a large apartment complex being constructed next to the Captain William Jackman Memorial Hospital — which has now been evacuated.

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The burning building is adjacent to the city's hospital, which had to be evacuated.

The hospital is asking people to avoid the area, and to call their switchboard at (709) 944-2632 for more information.

The hospital in Fermont, QC which is about 30 km from Labrador City, is accepting those who need non-urgent care.

Patients who were evacuated from the hospital were taken to a nearby Salvation Army Church, which is also serving as the emergency room.  The ER is only handling urgent cases.

Housing set-back

Labrador City Mayor Karen Olford says the unfinished apartment building was a big one, and that the town was counting on the extra accommodations.

"In Labrador City and Labrador West, we've been growing immensely," said Olford.

"Certainly the need for housing is acute, so this is a blow."

The complex, which was going to provide 108 apartments, is owned by a contractor out of Quebec.

The fire spread throughout the building because the sprinkler system still hadn't been set up.

Police are investigating the cause of the blaze.