A catastrophe was narrowly averted Monday morning in Black Rock as firefighters battled a blaze in a multi-family apartment house.

A woman and her cat were rescued by firefighters from their third-floor apartment as smoke filled the morning sky.

The woman, identified as Melissa Belle-Isle, was taken to St. Vincent’s Medical Center suffering from smoke inhalation. The cat, Freesia, appeared to be unharmed.

“The firefighters did a terrific job with the rescue and knocking the fire down quickly,” said Assistant Fire Chief Bruce Porzelt. He said the fire, apparently caused by a candle, severely damaged the home’s third floor.

The fire broke out shortly after 8:30 a.m. in the three-story apartment house at 77 Homestead Ave.

When firefighters arrived, heavy smoke and flames were pouring out the third-floor windows.

Amidst the smoke, Porzelt said Belle-Isle was hanging out of a third-floor window, screaming for help.

Firefighters Joel Christy and Monique Pettway climbed a ladder and pulled Belle-Isle from the window. But as they were carrying her down to safety she began screaming hysterically for her cat, refusing to leave without her.

Porzelt said Firefighter Keith Muratori braved the thick smoke to return to the third floor and eventually found the cat and brought it down safely.

Meanwhile, firefighters credited a dog with saving the lives of the second-floor occupants.

Porzelt said the male second-floor resident was in the shower when his dog began barking, alerting him to the fire. The man, his wife and the dog got out safely.

The fire was brought under control in about 15 minutes. Carol Banner, acting director of the Mid-Fairfield County chapter of the American Red Cross emergency services, said the agency will provide temporary housing to Belle-Isle if she needs it.

Residents of the building’s first and second floors were able to return to their apartments.