Chanasia Hunter lives on the 10th floor of the Bronx apartment building that went up in flames Sunday.
She told CNN affiliate WABC it is not unusual to hear the fire alarm go off in their apartment complex. She says it's something residents are used to hearing.
"How are supposed to know it’s a fire if it’s always going off?" Hunter said.
She said the only way she found out the fire alarm was legitimate was when a person who lived on the third floor -- where the flames were burning -- called her.
"I looked out the back of the window and that’s where we see the fire just fighting outside the window, and they have to break open the windows to let people out," Hunter said.
"We heard screaming, we saw the windows bursting out … We saw people getting saved," she said.
Hunter said she was able to escape because officials knocked on her door. She said smoke was coming into people's apartments.
"I was coming down the stairs and saw a body sitting on the floor. This is crazy, this building has been here for years and this has never happened before," she said.
"I’m just sad because this is like a family," she said. "We lost a lot of lives, and it hurts very bad, especially children and even elders. I see these people every day, it’s hurtful."