The victims were identified as two female Marist College students and one male, who was not a student at the school. Their names have not been released.
The cause of the fire in Poughkeepsie remains under investigation.
"I ran to the front window and saw this big, huge cloud of orange smoke," Marist senior Melissa Generoso said.
"I had never seen flames so extreme. The flames were bursting out of windows. The house looked like it would collapse at any minute," Marist senior Kristina Nowell recounted.
Town Police Chief Thomas Mauro says the off-campus house was being rented by six female Marist College students.
Several had guests there Friday night.
A group of four residents and their male guests stayed the night, while others went elsewhere.
The fire was called in to 911 about 1:30 a.m. Saturday.
Two couples jumped to safety; one couple from the second floor, the other from the first floor.
"They were barefoot, they weren't completely clothed either so we knew where they were coming from," Nowell said.
The four people who made it out of the fire, were taken to a hospital, treated and released.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
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