According to the Apex Fire chief, the fire started when someone improperly discarded a cigarette or a match over a patio and onto pine straw.
Cleaning crews recovered what they could from six townhomes. Two of the units are boarded up and no one is allowed to go inside.
Some residents simply went to see why they have left.
"Got the couch, TVs, stuff like that, little end tables," said Sam Purefoy, resident's father.
He said his daughter lost a lot of items in the fire. She was at work when she heard about the fire and called her father.
"I got a phone call," Purefoy said. "I was at the bowling alley and my daughter said her place was on fire so I came running."
After the blaze started, it quickly spread through the building. Three units were heavily damaged and the other three have some water and smoke damage.
When residents were finally allowed in Friday, they grabbed what they could. Crews will continue cleaning what they can. They said some residents may be out of their homes for months.
Some residents said they will stay at hotels and others said they will stay with family until everything is sorted out.
The fire chief said the investigation is complete and the fire was an accident.