Fire broke out at an Essex apartment complex 4 a.m. Tuesday.

"We had flames shooting out one apartment window, out into the street," Essex Fire Chief Ed Pilon said.

The blaze was contained to a single a unit at Maplewood Apartments but the entire complex, which houses roughly 75 people, had to be evacuated.

"We were fortunate to contain the fire in one apartment and prevent it from spreading," Pilon said.

The chief said there is "considerable smoke damage" throughout the building. The fire caused $200,000 in damage.

Pilon said there was a single man in the apartment at the time of the fire. No one was seriously injured.

Pilon said "two or three people were affected by smoke inhalation" and another person twisted an ankle heading downstairs during the evacuation.

Pilon said the cause of the fire may never be known because damage was so extensive.

Investigation and cleanup took "several hours."

Some residents began returning late Tuesday. Others won't be allowed inside until the end of the week.