Firefightersare witnessingwalls collapsing and hot spots popping up. But it's what the residents saw that takes center stage after a Tuesday fire.

The destructive blaze ravaged through three apartment southeast-side buildings starting early in the morning. Within minutes, it went from home to hell.

We opened the front door and the fire just came in to our apartment, saidone resident. Our apartment is a complete loss. All we have, thank God, is ourbabies.

Trapped by flames at their front door, many resorted to jumping from the second and third floors of the Summerview Apartment buildings in the 4700 block of Stringfellow St.

The first rescues would come from neighbors, pounding on doors to awaken those who didn t smell or see what was quickly spreading.

I had to kick in a window. me and a fireman, we got a child out of the house. But, the kids upstairs, they... a young resident stops as he recalls the scene.

In all, 24 unitswere damaged or destroyed. Those residents now refugees left to watch the inferno.

Nine peoplewere hospitalized, two in critical condition.

And one worried father desperately searches for his missing 6-year-old son.

Nobody has seen him. Nobody knows where he is at, says Rudy Alejos.

The autistic boy, along with an elderly woman, remained unaccounted for. Crews at the scene said they could not confirm whether the two would be found amid the ruins of the buildings because some areas were still too hot to be safely searched.

Perched atop the ladder trucks, on-scene commanders orchestrate the firefighters next moves.

They say hot spots still smolder and structures are just too weak to support any recovery efforts.

Firefighters are spending the night at the site to keep the neighborhood safe should anything spark back up.

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