Almost 50 firefighters were needed to extinguish the flames on the third floor of the Stone Ridge apartment complex in Dallas Saturday.
Commanders called for extra help when high winds picked up and threatened to spread the fire.
Shocked residents, too upset to talk, could just watch as their apartments smoldered.
"A lot of people have pets. The good news is, they all made it out; the bad news is, so many of these people have nothing left," said Anita Foster, spokesperson for the Dallas Red Cross.
Firecrews said no one was hurt, though the blaze destroyed 12 units and left at least 30 people homeless.
The Red Cross said their work is just starting.
"We've got a lot of work to do tonight. We're going to make sure every family has a place to stay tonight. They got food to eat," Foster said.