Some people living in a highrise near the Billings Bridge mall were forced from their units and onto their balconies by heavy, black smoke from an electrical fire Wednesday morning.

Ottawa fire officials said they got a call about smoke on the 21st floor of an apartment building near the intersection of Bank Street and Riverside Drive before 11 a.m.

After climbing the stairs to the building's 21st floor, crews used a chemical extinguisher to douse the flames.  

The fire was under control by 11:30 a.m. and people were being taken down using the stairs, because the power has been cut to the building and the elevators will be out of service, according to spokesperson Danielle Cardinal.

Paramedics treated six patients, mostly for shortness of breath. Two people were transported to hospital.