Saanich officials say a woman has died from her injuries after a fire that broke out in a four-storey apartment building Friday morning.

Saanich, Victoria and Oak Bay fire crews responded shortly after 4 a.m. and discovered heavy smoke and flames coming out of the multi-unit building in the 2600-block of Richmond Road, just north of Royal Jubilee Hospital.

Assistant Deputy Fire Chief Rob Heppell of Saanich Fire says a ground ladder was needed to rescue residents from their Brookside Manor balconies who had not evacuated by the time firefighters arrived.

Officials say a 60-year-old was found unresponsive in the hallway of the building and has since succumbed to injuries.

Saanich police and the BC Coroners Service is investigating the death.

Authorities say two patients were taken to hospital with unconfirmed injuries and Heppell says a number of residents showed signs of smoke inhalation.

Heppell says four suites were directly damaged by the fire while other units were affected by smoke and water damage.

Displaced residents were taken to Cedar Hill Rec Centre and it is not known how many residents are affected.

Officials say several residents were awoken by fire alarms.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation and Richmond Road is closed at Carrick Street.

CHEK