Flames and thick black smoke could be seen pouring from the roof of the apartments on Travis Street at Wheeler.
One World War II veteran was carried down the stairs because he used a walker. Some of the residents were also in motorized wheelchairs.
Firefighters rushed inside to bring people to safety who could be seen still on the third floor as the fire burned.
Everyone was evacuated. There were no injuries.
Eyewitness News reporter Jeff Ehling was on Highway 59 near the Mexican Consulate when he saw the smoke.
When he arrived at the scene, residents told him that they never heard a fire alarm.
"I was in my apartment. It was already on the TV before I even knew about it," one resident told Jeff.
METRO police officers nearby saw the fire and rushed over to help.
Authorities tell Eyewitness News work was being done to the air conditioner on the roof of the complex when it caught fire.
Approximately 20 units were damaged.
A Red Cross shelter has opened at South Main Baptist Church on 200 Colquitt to help the veterans affected by the fire.
VIDEO: ABC13's SkyEye is over the roof of a veterans' home where firefighters worked to put out flames