Tuesday night the people who lived there had 15 minutes to decide what to take out.
"It was so dark and we couldn't breathe," said Caroline Madrak, a fire victim.
24-year-old Caroline Madrak is not only a fire victim, she is also a hero.
Sunday night she was taking a shower when her Hoboken apartment building burst into flames.
By the time she got out of the bathroom her kitchen and living room were completely engulfed.
She quickly found some other trapped tenants.
Unable to get down the stairs or to the fire escape, she led them to her 3rd floor window where she climbed out, stood on a pipe and threw herself five feet across and several feet up to the roof next door.
She hauled herself to safety and then coaxed the rest to follow.
Thankfully all were eventually rescued.
It was a devastating four-alarm blaze which ate through to the core of the building on Washington Avenue.
Tuesday, residents were allowed back in to claim what little was left.
Caroline who is now staying in a hotel, was able to salvage her wallet and other important papers.
But everything else is destroyed.
Some local residents now organizing a fund raiser for all 17 tenants left homeless.
Most of them do not have insurance.
On Thursday February 23rd from 7 p.m. to 8: 30 p.m. at local restaurant the Village Pourhouse there will be a "volunteers needed" event.
There, people who are interested in helping can come and learn what's needed for the victims and how they can be helpful.
Also, A community-organized fundraiser for the fire victims is scheduled for Friday, March 2nd from 7-10 p.m. at Room 84, 84 Washington Street. A donation at the door is requested, and all entrants will receive one free drink upon entry. Additional details on the fundraiser are available online: https://www.facebook.com/events/301015846626195/
Saints Peter and Paul Church is coordinating victim assistance. Residents needing help or who wish to provide assistance can contact the parish at 201-659-2276 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Get Eyewitness News Delivered