As he hobbled on crutches, Dennis Khong told Eyewitness News he had no choice but to jump.
He was trapped on the 2nd floor of his apartment building with flames getting closer by the second.
"My friend told me jump. I cannot describe it. It's horrible," Khong said.
Khong and his family escaped with sprains, bumps and bruises .
Firefighters rushed to the four-story building at 61st and 5th Aavenue in Sunset Park on Sunday at 5:15 a.m.
It took 160 firefighters more than two hours to get it under control.
Officials say 40 people were hurt, 9 critically.
"There were people on all parts of the fire escape being removed. People in ladder buckets [were] being removed. Just about every time I looked up I saw someone being taken out of the building," Deputy Fire Chief Richard Howe said.
Firefighters say it looks like the fire started in the hallway.
The cause is still under investigation, but the blaze was ruled suspicious.
Some of the victims were taken to Lutheran Medical Center with burns.
The building is gutted and residents need a place to stay.
"We need a place to rest for the rest of night. Everything is upstairs," Kohng said.
The Red Cross is helping the residents find another place to stay.
They are using a laundromat as a staging area to get that done quickly.