KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT)-- Matthew Burleson arrived home at Spring Meadow Apartments around 3:30 a.m. Everything seemed normal as he walked into his apartment, however, moments later he heard some unusual sounds.
""I noticed my ceiling was popping and then the fire alarm went off. I went out into the living room and the floor was covered in smoke." said Matthew
That's when he and his roommates ran to the door, opened it and saw flames rushing up the side of their outside staircase.
"We shut our eyes and held our breath because we knew we had to get out." said Matthew
Jonathan Allen is another roommate who said "I wasn't really thinking about grabbing stuff. I just was shocked to open the door and see flames inches from my face."
Still in shock, the roommates raced to wake up their neighbors who weren't outside yet.
Matthew told us "We knocked on windows and we helped our neighbors out of a window. Their door was blocked by flames and we knew they wouldn't be able to get out.
The fire and smoke destroyed all eight apartments but everyone made it out safely.
"You think nothing like this will happen to you but when it does it's like some kind of instinct kicks in. You realize that you have to save yourself and the ones you're with and you don't want to lose a life. That's the most important thing." said Matthew.
The American Red Cross was on the scene to help everyone who lost their homes. Matthew and Jonathan say they will stay with friends until they get everything figured out.