The fire broke out just before 10:30 p.m. on the first floor of the apartment building on Broadway in Bayonne.
Flames spread, eventually shooting through the roof and into the night sky.
While some tenants made it out on their own, others were trapped, including one woman who was hanging out her third-floor window screaming for help.
Firefighters used a tower ladder to reach her.
Several victims were rescued, and hey were taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
"I was just inside watching TV, and my daughter came in my bedroom and asked me if I noticed the fire," a resident named Nicole said. "I looked out the window and saw the flames shooting up over the roof of one of the buildings. So I just came out to make sure everything was OK."
It took hours for firefighters to get the blaze under control.
Officials said 24 residents were displaced, and the Red Cross was aiding the victims.
On Wednesday afternoon, tenants who lived in the units on either side were allowed to go in with experts to retrieve anything they could.
The Department of Buildings department determined the building could not be salvaged and will be torn down.
Numerous streets were closed as cleanup work continued.
The cause remains under investigation.
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