Many people said they ran out barefooted and only had time to get their children and pets.
"The kids actually went and knocked on the doors to get people out," said Evan Stars, witness.
One woman said she had been sleeping and woke up to what she describes as popping noises.
"When I looked up, I saw the fire above us and it was falling down on us and I just told the kids to get out," said Clarice Pointer, apartment resident.
A total of 24 apartments were damaged. Of that, eight were gutted even though speedway firefighters arrived on scene three minutes after the first 911 call came in. Firefighters with several other departments also came to fight the blaze.
A 14-year-old resident said her famly had only been living there a month.
"There usually are alarms going off but none were going off because they werent working," said Alma Haro, apartment resident.
In all, more than 40 families cannot return home. The Red Cross was back on scene Friday to offer what they could including temporary homes, clothing, food and comfort kits which were full of the necessities: toothbrushes, soap, even a doll for a child.
"Once they have a place to stay we can help them with bedding and linens, first month's rent deposit and whatever they need," said Ann Gregson, Red Cross spokesperson.
The fire has been ruled accidental. A man we spoke with claimed a candle was knocked over inside his girlfriends unit.
The Speedway fire chief said one pet died in the fire but everyone escaped without any serious injuries.
Residents are all trying to figure out what's next.
"We dont have renter's insurance so we've lost. Hopefully we can slavage our furniture and our clothes but there are some things we won't be able to save," said Carolyn Brown, apartment resident.
Fire officials said the fire walls on each side of the apartment building kept the fire contained. It had already broken through the roof by the time they arrived on scene.