Witnesses say it felt like they watched the frantic scene unfold in slow motion.
"A man jumped from the forth floor window," witness Ebony Rosario said. "A women kept yelling, 'help my baby, help my baby.' The man who jumped was bleeding a lot. It was hard to watch."
It was even harder to watch the transition from rescue to recovery, as one man was being pushed on a stretcher while pramedics moved another woman on oxygen to an ambulance.
Another man was breathing deeply in the back of yet another ambulance.
In total, one man is in serious condition, and eight other people have minor injuries. That includes a child who witnesses say was nearly tossed from the fourth floor during the panic.
"She was holding down a baby about seven months," witness Isabel Vasquez said. "She was about to let her go. She almost dropped the baby."
The fire started around 2:15 at the Pelham Parkway Houses in the Bronx.
The blaze was on the top three floors of the seven-story building.
"I smelled something," Miguel Ramos said. "I said it's smoke. I said get out of here, something happened."
Victims like Ramos and Betty Diaz say their fourth floor apartment was filled with thick black smoke. And as they made their way down the stairs and out of the building, they were not sure if they would make it out alive.
"I got emotional," Diaz said. "I had to sit on the floor because it was too much."