The trees surrounding the building now look like icicles, and cars parked on the street are covered in ice, after firefighters doused the building with water to put out the flames.
The fire started around 11:30 p.m. Monday along the 5700 block of Morris Street in the 6-floor apartment building.
Arriving crews saw flames shooting out of a third story unit.
Residents reported hearing a fire alarm and many self-evacuated.
"When I go on to the elevator to check all the floors, I see this massive black smoke that was coming fast," resident Ronald Marsh said.
Richard Woodhouse woke up to flames in his apartment. He said people were screaming to him to get out.
"I seen people coming down the fire escape and from the fire escape, I seen flames shooting out the building," Woodhouse said.
Three people were taken to Einstein Medical Center with unspecified injuries.
Now, some residents who have lost everything are wondering what happens next.
"Unfortunately, a lot of people are out here in the cold and we are suffering and I hope things will get better here," resident Steve Broadax said.
Charlie Donley, who lives next door to where the fire happened, helped his neighbors in need.
"I let a couple people in to use the bathroom because I figured where else are they going to go; four or five people came in and I gave them some drinks," Donley said.
Because of the freezing temperatures, the Office of Emergency Management was immediately called to assist.
"It was freezing. That was the part that really I felt bad about was just how cold it was and those people had to leave their houses with whatever they had on," Donley said.
About three dozen residents are staying at Central High School in the Red Cross' care.
It was similar frozen sight on the 300 block of North Front Street in Old City where firefighting efforts led to the block being encased in ice.
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