Fire crews were able to put out the blaze quickly, but not before eight apartment units were destroyed.
All 13 adults and six children inside the apartments were able to get out of the burning building safely, but had to leave most of their belongings behind.
"I grabbed a pair of flip flops and a pair of jogging pants and my purse," tenant Katrina Lodge said. "I couldn't even get my cell phone, nothing, just grabbed a pair of pants and my purse."
She and her fiancée say they noticed the smell of smoke, but couldn't locate the source until it was too late.
"It was just horrific," Lodge said. "I grabbed the first thing I saw, I went to the backdoor and he said 'get the dog!'"
But she says the door was too hot for her to handle.
"I could see this black smoke coming through my back door," Lodge's fiancée Terrance Campbell said. "I heard my dog scratching at the back door, so I opened my back door, my dog is on fire, and the smoke and fire just rushed me, And I fell back, closed the door ... and we ran out of the house."
Their 6-month-old pitbull named Domino did not survive.
During their escape, Campbell was able to alert his neighbor about the fire and save his life.
"When he knocked on my door and all, I was kicking his door," resident William Bostic said.
"Didn't nobody answer, so I said they're in there 'cause I saw the truck," Campbell said. "So, I turned my back to the door, started kicking."
The rear of the apartment complex was destroyed in the blaze. The exact cause of the fire is still under investigation.