DALLAS -- Just before 6 a.m. Sunday, residents at the Wilson Crossing Apartments in Cedar Hill were abruptly awakened.
"We woke up because the fireman were knocking on the door," Tressa Jarnagin said.
Residents believe a fireplace sparked an apartment fire that took 18 fire trucks and 40 firefighters almost nine hours to put out. Cedar Hill Fire Chief John Ballard said the cause remains under investigation, however.
Michelle Clifton said residents were crying and in shock as they walked into the 30-degree temperatures outside.
"We couldn't even process this was all going on," Clifton said.
Candy Eaddy said at first, she thought she had time to grab her clothes. She was in her pajamas.
"First thing went out my mind is, 'I can't go outside like this,'" Eaddy said.
Residents like Jeremy Moore were a bit more lucky. He grabbed a coat, his hat, and boots.
"My girlfriend was walking around in a blanket -- she couldn't get dressed fast enough," Moore said.
Michelle Clifton says she first smelled something odd, then looked through her peep hole. Immediately, she knew something was wrong.
"When I first walked out the door and saw the flames, it was in a very small spot but literally by the time we got downstairs into the parking area and turned around and looked around, and the whole top floor was kinda engulfed and it just got bigger so fast," Clifton said.
No one was injured, thanks to firefighters going door to door and waking residents. Fire Chief Ballard was please with his department's showing.
"They prevented the exposure to other buildings, they got it isolated to a single building, so I think the crews did a really good job with it," Ballard said.
Candy Eaddy remains grateful despite what she lost in the blaze.
"What I have is the clothes on my back, I have my friends, y'know, I have a place to stay because my friends have stepped up," Eaddy said tearfully.
The American Red Cross is assisting those affected too, by providing clothing, food, and shelter out of a temporary shelter at 601 E. Belt Line.
Management with the Wilson Crossing Apartments is also working to secure new living quarters for displaced residents within the complex.