By Tony Lopez

CARMICHAEL (CBS13) — Firefighters say five apartments were damaged in a fire at a Carmichael complex early Tuesday afternoon.

The scene was at a two-story apartment building along the 5800 block of Fair Oaks Boulevard.

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Annalise Carter says she was in the shower when a fire broke out inside her apartment.

“There was flames coming out of my ceiling,” she said.

As thick smoke filled her unit, she had just enough time to throw on some clothes and grab what’s most precious to her — her dog, Prince.

“We got out, I didn’t know what was going to happen after that point. It was terrible,” Carter said.

Ernesto Peters lives in the unit next door and called 9-1-1.

“You don’t even have enough time to think,” he said. “You only get a split second to figure out what you want to do and what you want to gather.”

Aftermath of the fire. (Credit: Sac Metro Fire)

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Metro Fire crews responded to the scene and found a large column of smoke coming from the building. Firefighters quickly called for a second alarm and conducted a primary and secondary search.

Fire crews were worried. The flames were moving fast and the potential for spreading was real.

“We actually called for the second alarm not because of the size of the fire, but because it is a 16-unit building and we wanted to make sure we headed it off before it spread to any other units,” one firefighter said. “It started from the ceiling, so I believe it was electrical.”

Sadly, at least two dogs died in the fire. One person had to be treated at the scene for minor injuries, firefighters say. No other injuries were reported.

A total of five apartments were damaged by either the fire, smoke, or water. However, firefighters say that all apartments in the 16-unit building have been displaced due to water being shut off.

The Red Cross is doing all it can for Carter and four other families whose apartments were damaged. But the help can’t take away the hurt of losing what’s been her “home for the holidays.”

“I’ve worked very hard for everything I have and it could be all ruined,” Carter said of the last five years.

Sacramento County building code officials are at the scene to take a look at the extent of the structural damage.

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Exactly what started the fire is under investigation.