It took 50 firefighters working aggressively to contain the flames in a midtown fourplex on Saturday afternoon.
While firefighters surveyed the damage inside, a man who only gave his first name, Daryl, who lived in the burned home told FOX40 what it was like waking up to a room half-full of black smoke.
"It was thick. It was all the way down to where I was sitting. I was looking at it. I could see the line change," said Daryl.
Daryl used the last of that breathable air to collect what he needed - a backpack with medication he needs to survive.
"I have my own health issues, so it was a problem. I had just gotten home from the hospital," he said.
"It is a multi-family property," said Roberto Padilla of the Sacramento City Fire Department. "That was one of our concerns at the beginning."
The Sacramento Fire Department says Daryl's saving grace was his smoke detector. It may have also saved the people who live in the three connected apartments, all of whom received assistance from the Red Cross following the fire.
"Unfortunately one unit was lost but due to the type of construction in downtown these fires have the potential to grow even bigger," said Padilla.
Padilla went on to say no one was injured in the fire. Firefighters are currently investigating what started the fire.
The fire left Daryl with very little more than his life. "I don't even have clothes, I have nothing," said Daryl. "I lost it all."