Firefighters called to River City Landing Apartments on University Boulevard just after midnight found an entire building engulfed in flames.
Two people were transported to an area hospital with injuries, but there is no word on their condition. Neighbors say one of the people taken to the hospital was dealing with issues following smoke inhalation. Some firefighters also suffered from minor injuries while fighting the fire.
"I heard the fire alarm. I went downstairs to see what was going on. The apartment that was on fire, a man came out with his two children in his arms. His wife was trying to get the dog out of the apartment, which didn't happen," Eric Inscoe said.
"By the time I was able to make sure everything was OK with them, it was too smokey to go back up and get anything," Inscoe said. "I left my phone, everything."
Between 15 and 18 Jacksonville Fire-Rescue units battled the blaze in Building H of the apartments complex across the street from Jacksonville University's residence halls.
Firefighters say most of the 32 apartments in the building were destroyed. Those that were saved were damaged by water and smoke.
When crews arrived, the only fire hydrant in the apartment complex didn't have enough water to knock down the fire.
"Water supply is always a challenge in this area," JFRD Fire Chief Marty Senterfitt said. "We had to run hoses down to Merrill Road to bring water into the complex. With a fire this size, we don't count hundreds of gallons of water, we count tens of thousands of gallons of water."
Senterfitt says the State Fire Marshal's is investigating, and that the investigation will last well into Saturday.
Due to the size of the fire, the power was shut off in the area. Power was being restored to the area Saturday morning. University Boulevard reopened at 4:30 a.m.
The Red Cross tells Channel 4 it's assisting more than 20 families in need. The Red Cross is helping them out with food, clothing, and putting them up in a hotel until Tuesday.
The Red Cross is also asking anyone who was affected by the fire, but still hasn't talked with them to call (904) 358-8091.