Firefighters were called out to the 1500 block of North 17th Street around 3:15 a.m.
The fire had trapped the women who had been sleeping on the third floor.
"You can imagine the panic situation of waking up and having fire trap you on the third floor. Our companies did exactly what they were trained to do. They stretched waterlines, they confined the fire, and protected the occupants on the third floor," Lt. Chief Jerry Boyle of the Philadelphia Fire Department said.
The women, both in their 50s, were taken to Hahnemann University Hospital for smoke inhalation then transferred to Temple University where they are in serious condition.