Dublin Fire Brigade has said there was a real possibility people could have died in a fire in Dublin city this morning, in which 11 people were rescued from upper floors of a building.

District Officer Brendan Carroll said when firefighters arrived at the scene on Mountjoy Square North at 7.45am, there were five people at the top window ledge ready to jump.

They were taken down on a hydraulic ladder.

He said the six other people rescued also had been taken down on a ladder.

Describing the incident as very serious, he said the rescue and response was rapid with eight pumps in attendance.

He said the three adjoining buildings are divided into 36 apartments and said there were around 150 people living there, including families with children.

He said the cause of the blaze, which started in the basement, is not yet known.

The road was closed to traffic and pedestrians.

The management company which runs the accommodation on behalf of the landlord says around 70 people are listed as living in the building.

The company says it is trying to arrange alternative accommodation for tenants and says deposits are being given returned.

It is understood there is one landlord for the entire building.

The management company said it did not know when residents will be allowed back there to live as extensive repair work will first be required.

It said some tenants have been allowed back today but only to collect belongings.