Smoke detectors woke up one of the residents -- a Duke University graduate student.
She and her guests escaped unharmed. Although she didn't want to speak on camera, she told Eyewitness News she thinks the fire may have started on a back deck of a townhome that has a grill on it.
The resident of the other townhome also escaped unharmed.
A neighbor, who also declined a request for an on camera interview, said she heard an explosion around 2:45 a.m.
Firefighters say a third townhome, that is vacant, was not damaged in the fire.
A cause has not been determined and officials do not know the location of what started the fire.
The Duke student said she is insured, but all she has left are the clothes she was wearing when she escaped.