COLUMBIA, Md. (WJZ) — Dozens of people are forced from their homes in Howard County when three apartment buildings go up in flames.

The fire burned fast at a complex on Little Patuxent Parkway in Columbia.

Christie Ileto talks to residents who just barely made it out in time.

One resident said she had to jump from her balcony just to escape the flames. Others who were coming home from work said they were speechless of what was left of their homes.

A two-alarm fire guts three buildings at the Clary’s Crossing Apartment Complex Friday in Columbia. Photos catch the towering flames ripping through the building’s roof.

“Heavy fire showing through the roof involving all apartments on the third floor,” said Adam Nolder, Howard County Fire Department.

First responders shut down neighborhood streets.

“My wife was laying on the couch and someone come knocking on the door saying everybody get out of the building,” one man said.

Rescue teams say all the residents and pets made it out, though two people were taken to the hospital with minor injuries.

“I opened the door and it was just pitch black, full of smoke,” said Kim Prium, lives on the second floor.

Prium says she took extreme measures to save her life.

“Thought again, can I get out again? Opened the door again and then I decided I would just have to jump from the balcony,” she said.

Dozens of residents returning home from work are now displaced. Some are trying to process the charred sight. Others are grabbing only essentials for the next 24 hours.

“The front of it, the door is–gone. The windows are out,” one man said.

As fire investigators look to see how this fire started and what unit it started in, fencing is now going up to make sure the building stays secure.

“I’m in shock. I can’t explain it. It’s just surreal,” a resident said.

But right now, this surreal is reality for these residents.

The American Red Cross is helping those residents who are displaced.

There’s no word on an estimated cost of the damage.

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