PHOENIX - Smoke and flames frantically awakened residents at Banyantree Apartments near 28th Drive and Cactus Road.
One resident, Judson Hentschel, lives alone and is disabled. He said he had no idea what was happening until neighbors started banging on his door.
"I was wondering what it was," explained Judson. "And when I came out [they] just told me it was fire."
Within minutes, flames had completely gutted Judson's apartment.
"He was coming out and he was worried about his ferret and his dog," said neighbor J.D. Ferris. "His dog had jumped from the balcony when the fire started."
Ferris joined a handful of neighbors who went door to door warning residents of the danger.
Judson and his pets are all fine, but the place they called home is a total loss.
"Seconds could have been his life or death," exclaimed Judson's brother Shon.
He spent the day helping Judson grab what few belongings they could salvage. Shon will open his home until Judson can find a new place to stay.
"If it wasn't for that neighbor he probably just would have been in la la land choking to death on his smoke," Shon gleamed. "Thank God that his neighbors are caring and concerned about him here."
Phoenix Fire Department officials say the ferocious flames started spreading around 3:15 a.m., on a second floor balcony, before quickly spreading to three upstairs apartments.
"He's really lucky that people reacted here with a sense of urgency," explained Shon.
Their quick thinking helped residents like, Judson, make it out safely.
"I'd like to thank the Lord for protecting me, smiled Judson. "And thank my neighbors for waking me up."
Medical crews rushed at least one person to the hospital in an ambulance. The extent of injuries is unclear at this time.
What caused this fire is still under investigation.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Did You Hear?
Hampton Creek Foods is scouring the planet for plants that can replace chicken eggs in everything from cookies to omelets to French toast. Its first product is an egg-free mayonnaise now sold at Whole Foods Markets.
Chicago Bulls dancer Ariana Rosado was part of a marriage proposal routine that she wasn't prepared for -- her own.
A man traveling to visit his sister in California woke up to find himself locked inside a dark, empty plane.
More North Phoenix News
A mysterious man is going around leaving huge tips to waiters and waitresses and the most recent recipient was a Valley bar owner.