The Mission Pines apartments in Martinez went up in flames around 5:45 Thursday morning. The fire was huge by the time it was discovered and 911 was called so residents had to rely on each other to safely evacuate.
"I just heard neighbors banging on doors saying there was a fire. I got my kids and got out and gave my kids to my neighbors," said Victor Linards, Martinez resident.
Destroyed apartment units in Martinez after an early morning fire. pic.twitter.com/lPU7tMMx2V— Amy Hollyfield (@amyhollyfield) April 22, 2015
But he wasn't finished; as his four and five-year-old kids were taken away he stayed to help a woman who was still inside her smoke filled home.
"She was stuck I asked some other neighbors to come and kick the door open and that's how she got out. She was frantic but she was fine and ambulance took her," said Linards.
She was taken to the hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation. A police officer also inhaled too much smoke as he helped with the evacuations.
"He was not transported, but we are keeping an eye on him and making sure he is okay," said Fire Marshal Robert Marshall.
Everyone else in the apartment complex was okay, but shaken by seeing fire come so close.
"I was scared and very glad it wasn't our building. I was hoping no one got hurt it's a very scary thing being in an apartment complex," said Lisa Dekat, Martinez resident.
Now the focus turns to recovery-and the woman who is now in the hospital
"She's probably about my age concerning anytime someone is hurt like that thoughts and prayers to her and her son hope everything's okay," said Dekat.
Firefighters are still investigating the cause of the fire.