Fire broke out in suburban Atlanta hotel early Sunday, killing one person and injuring more than a dozen others.

At least 20 people had to be rescued by ladder trucks from the burning seven-story hotel, located near Interstate 75, said Marietta Fire Chief Jackie Gibbs.

The fire started about 3 a.m., apparently on the second floor of the Holiday Inn, firefighters said. The cause was under investigation, officials said.

The hotel did not have a sprinkler system, Gibbs said. It was built more than 30 years ago, before building codes required it.

Gibbs said the hotel's smoke and fire alarm system was working at the time of the blaze, although guests told Atlanta television stations that the alarms were faint and difficult to hear from their hotel rooms.

Holiday Inn officials did not immediately return a call seeking comment Sunday.

Eighteen hotel guests were treated for smoke inhalation and other injuries. Two firefighters were also injured, Gibbs said.

Gibbs declined to release information on the person killed until family could be notified.