BURLINGTON, N.C. -- It's hard for Brad Puckett and his wife to look at their home at the Colony apartment complex.
Just outside of their door is a charred breezeway that's been destroyed both upstairs and downstairs.
Crews say eight units were destroyed by flames just before 9:45 p.m. Saturday.
Fire department officials says the fire started in a downstairs kitchen apartment.
They say one person is in critical condition and six other families are without a home.
Puckett returned home Sunday morning to see what survived the fire.
Both he and his wife replayed what happened before they were forced to evacuate.
The couple said a weird odor filled the room and they quickly got up and noticed smoke coming from underneath the floor.
"She said, ‘do you smell something,’" Puckett said.
"There was smoke coming up from the base board and I was like, ‘oh crap,’" Puckett said.
Puckett said his wife immediately rushed outside.
"She could hear our downstairs neighbor yelling the apartment is on fire," Puckett said.
"I was speaking with her and she said she just panicked and ran out," said Burlington Fire Department Assistant Chief Jay Mebane.
Mebane said this is something he wants people to stop doing.
He said not closing the door allows the fire to travel up and out.
However, closing it all the way limits the amount of damage and serious injuries.
Fire officials say a kitchen fire caused all this damage and it is estimated at half a million dollars.