Neighbors told Eyewitness News they went door-to-door, making sure everyone escaped safely from the Ashton Place Apartments on Avenue H near South Allen-Genoa Road.
Neighbors say they smelled smoke around midnight and that within a matter of minutes, it turned into flames. It appears the fire started on the second floor.
Residents say they only had time to grab their clothes, wallets and purses before the flames engulfed the building.
"It was just crazy. I never experienced this in my life before. Everybody was just knocking on people's doors, and we didn't have enough time to get anything out," fire victim Ana Rivera said.
Firefighters say it will take a while to determine the exact cause, but note that the complex had a common attic. Once the flames spread to the attic, there was little they could do to save the building, which is a total loss.
25 families are homeless. The American Red Cross is opening a shelter at the Golden Acres Baptist Church in Pasadena for those who need it.
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