DALLAS The intensity of a fast-moving fire at a northeast Dallas apartment complex prevented first responders from battling it offensively early Thursday morning, resulting in three alarms and eight damaged units. No one was injured.

Firefighters were called to the Northpark Terrace Apartments at 6759 Eastridge Drive at 4:32 a.m. following reports of a structure fire. Flames were coming from the first floor of a two-story apartment building by the time Dallas-Fire Rescue arrived, said Jason Evans, a department spokesman.

Firefighters took an offensive strategy and moved into the unit but quickly realized it was unsafe and pulled back the fire was already in the attic and zipping through other units. Three alarms were eventually called and responders put out the blaze from a defensive position, Evans said.

He praised firefighters' efforts to cut off the fire as soon as they could, despite how rapidly it moved to the attic and spread to other units.

'Despite the multiple alarm response, firefighters did an outstanding job in cutting off the path of the fire and limiting the amount of damage, especially considering how fast the fire spread into the attic,' Evans said.

Residents said they were woken up by heavy smoke and a pungent smell.

'The first thing I did was I smelled, the smell woke me up, it was so strong,' resident Marsha Fleming told News 8's Marcus Moore. 'I got up, and i'm like, 'Oh my God, something's on fire.' I didn't think it was my apartment and I opened my front door to try and get some air in but by the time I'd opened my door the smoke was just pouring into my apartment. It was blinding, we couldn't even see anything.'

Of the eight units in the building, two 'sustained the bulk of the fire damage' while smoke and water damage made the others uninhabitable, he said. The American Red Cross is assisting displaced residents. Twenty adults and eight children lost their homes, said Anita Foster, Red Cross spokeswoman.

The cause of the fire is under investigation. Early Thursday morning, fire investigators were still speaking with witnesses at the scene.

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