CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — It was a scary start to the day for some UI students. A high-rise caught fire around 3 a.m. This happened on 707 S. 4th Street.

Crews worked on putting out the fire for about 45 minutes. Firefighters say it’s a reminder to us all to have safety plans ready.

People living in two of the apartments were displaced, but the fire actually started on the roof. Fire crews say that can pose some unique challenges when the roof is 14 stories up.

“I look up to the roof, and you can see black smoke coming from the top of it,” explained resident Callum Briem. Living on the 7th floor, Briem was jolted by a sound he’s come to dread.

“I was trying to go to bed at like 3 a.m. and the fire alarm went off,” he explained.

Earnest Helferich lives on the 13th floor. “I came down the stairs – the elevators, they wouldn’t let us use, so I just rushed down,” he said.

“The fire itself was contained to the roof, but unfortunately we did get some water inside some of the units, so as of this morning, there were about two units that weren’t able to be occupied,” explained Champaign Deputy Fire Marshal Randy Smith. Smith says it can be tough to fight fires so high up.

“When we get 14 stories in the air, of course, our ladder trucks don’t reach that high, so one of the things we do is there’s actually hose connections in the buildings for us to use,” he explained.

Luckily new technology can help out in the form of an intercom system.

“Buildings like these have features that allow the firefighters to go in there and talk to the occupants of the buildings,” said Smith. That means they can tell people inside to avoid a certain stairwell to make room for firefighters.

Most importantly, Smith says these situations are a reminder that we should all have a plan before we ever hear an alarm.

“Make sure we know every way out of the building, that we can’t always go out the same staircase we came in, so it’s important to know the different staircases, different ways to come in, and know that the elevator may not be available in case of an emergency.”

Whether you live in an apartment building or a home, make sure you know where at least two exits are at all times. For families or roommates, designate a spot where you can meet once you all make it outside.