The fire was reported at a three-story residential building around 4 p.m. on 163 Van Horne Street.
A Jersey City police officer who was first on the scene ran into the building where the fire originated and rescued one man. Alfred Bowen, 76, suffered third-degree burns and was taken to a local hospital.
A battalion chief and a firefighter also suffered non-life-threatening injuries.
The Jersey City Fire Department said the fire started in the back of a third-floor apartment where the 76-year-old lived.
Leo Balbuena saw the flames.
"I ran across the street and started banging on the door," said Balbuena.
He saw his longtime neighbor, Bowen inside.
"His hair was on fire, his feet were flesh and on fire, his hands -- he was in bad shape," added Balbuena.
As Balbuena dragged his neighbor out, the fire continued to rage.
Jersey City Fire Chief Steve McGill said flames spread to four other buildings.
"We were able to stop it at that last building, so five total," said McGill.
Bowen's daughter, Cindy lives in the building with her parents -- she is worried sick about her father, who is in ICU with third-degree burns.
"I thank god for life and that I'm alive, and my parents are alive," she said, "I wish they could find my pet."
Her cat is still missing, but there is so much too be grateful for, especially for Balbuena, who saved her father's life.
"I just want to say thank you. Words can't say enough -- thank you," she added.
All 17 residents that were displaced by the fire were being helped by the Red Cross or family members.
All of the buildings have significant damage and are uninhabitable.
The fire is not considered suspicious at this time.
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