ARLINGTON, Va. (WUSA9) -- A fire in a high-rise apartment building forced people out into the cold streets around 9:30 Sunday morning in Arlington.

Twenty fivepeople have been displaced. One person is in critical condition.

"It was just black, black smoke," said Joseph Smith.

"I heard an explosion in the back of the building," said Barbara Disavolas.

It was a full-on rescue this morning at the 7 story Harvey Hall complex on South Greenbriar Street. The complex houses nearly200 people.

Several people jumped out of their windows, and firefighters rescued people on stretchers and chairs.

"Other occupants in the building had jumped before we got here from the second floor," Arlington fireLt. Sara Marchegiani said."The fire department threw ladders able to get them out [and] none of those had to be transported."

It was a stranger who heard Kathleen White cry for help.

"I climbed out the window with him. The man had to tear it off so I could climb out or other than that I would've been stuck in there," said White.

The fire started in a 2nd floor apartment. The tenant was found outside the door in the hallway and was taken to the hospital with life threatening injuries.

The building's automatic smoke detectors alerted the fire department immediately.

The Red Cross and the Office of Emergency Management will be helping White and the 24 other displaced tenants move into vacant apartments or hotels temporarily.

But for the time being White chokes back tears thinking about the escape from her burning building.

"Just scared that's all. You're okay. Yeah I have life. Just scared, " said White.

The fire marshal has yet to determine what caused the fire.

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