SAN DIEGO — A fire erupted Tuesday in a building in the East Village area, first responders said.

The flames broke out just before 7 p.m. near 17th and Island Avenue, fire officials said.

San Diego Fire-Rescue, Coronado Fire and San Diego Police responded to the scene as flames could be seen shooting out of the top of the building with thick white smoke billowing into the air.

“Neighbors pounding on my window saying there’s a fire across the street. We may have to evacuate. We weren’t too sure yet. We didn’t know the situation fully. We get outside our front gate and the whole building is just engulfed in flames on the top,” neighbor Sammantha Richerson said.

The fire was found on the first floor which then spread to the second floor, according to San Diego Fire-Rescue Battalion Chief Rob Hartman. A total of 57 crews were fighting the tough fire.

Firefighters even got on the roof of the home next door to protect it from flames.

While much of the first floor was saved, the majority of the damage was on the second floor.

Firefighters say the building is used during the day, but thankfully no one was inside and no one was hurt. However, neighbors say they have had problems with squatters and transients in the area.

“I do believe there is an issue with the homeless coming into these abandoned houses,” Richerson said.

Crews are still mopping up the area at this time.