LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - An overnight fire at Forest Place Apartments left several families without a place to call home.

"It was a frightening experience," Howard Eichenbaum recalled. "The next thing I heard was my neighbor across the hall pounding on my front door."

Panic set in for several residents at Forest Place Apartments when a fire started shortly after midnight on Thursday.

Some residents grabbed whatever they could in time to escape the burning flames and heavy smoke.

"Put some pants on, and then my smoke alarms in my apartment went off," another resident said. This man may have been able to get out quickly, but for 83-year-old Howard Eichenbaum, it was not that easy.

"All I heard was my neighbor pounding on my door," he said.

Eichenbaum lived on the third floor of his apartment building and was unable to get out of the front door because the smoke was so thick. He said when he went to his balcony, he quickly realized climbing down three stories would not be possible for him to do alone.

"I'm 83 years old. I couldn't climb over the balcony. I couldn't physically get over," he added. "The fireman got behind me and hoisted me up as best he could."

Eichnbaum managed to get to the ground floor with only a few scrapes and bruises and said had it not been for the help he received, he may not be here.

"I think I'd be dead. I couldn't breathe," Eichnbaum finished.

Eichenbaum is one of 34 residents displaced. With no family in the area and nowhere to go, he will stay at an American Red Cross Shelter until he can find a temporary home. Despite losing everything and being left with just the clothes on his back, he said he is not worried. He is just thankful to have his life.

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