Jeany Showers had just been home for a few hours after getting off of work.
"By the time I closed by eyes somebody was banging on my window and said fire," she said.
It was a little before 3 A.M. when Hillsborough County Fire Rescue said a fire broke out in an attic at 3821 River Vista Lane in Hidden River Grande apartments.
Showers grabbed her three kids and ran outside.
She said it wasn't until her apartment was engulfed in flames that she heard a smoke alarm go off.
"Nothing went off when that first started nothing at all nothing all I seen outside was people outside running screaming," she said.
She can't figure out why her alarm didn't sound right away.
"It is a bad feeling that you have a smoke detector that doesn't go off you know that should it should be quick to go off," she said.
Many residents told FOX13 that it had been six months since the complex checked their smoke alarms.
Carmen Dean and her family moved in five months ago.
Her husband woke up smelling smoke.
"The smoke alarms didn't go off at all," she said.
Her daughter Caitlyn says this malfunction isn't a first.
"There has been like near misses and the fire alarms don't go off and if they do go off its like a little beep a small tiny ping,"said Caitlyn.
Hillsborough Fire Rescue said 8 units were destroyed.
Many residents reported never hearing any smoke alarms.
"The residents were able to evacuate because of either the smoke or the fire crackling or the noise of our guys basically banging on the doors and doing forceable entries," said Hillsborough Fire spokesman Ronnie Rivera.
Hillsborough Fire Rescue said they don't know why the alarms didn't sound.
15-17 people are now homeless, but many say it could have been worse.
"We're alive its all material we can rebuild we can start over it's just gonna take some time," said Dean.
The property manager did not comment on this story.
Hillsborough County Fire Rescue said the investigation will continue into the fire's cause.
The Fire Marshall and code enforcement were also notified about the smoke alarms.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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