NORTH HOLLYWOOD (CBSLA.com)  —   A fire at a North Hollywood building destroyed most of the residence’s units and sent neighbors fleeing into the night.apartment

CBS 2’s Joy Benedict spoke to some of the residents about their frightening ordeal and about what comes next.

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It was a terrifying scene outside the apartment building and inside it was worse.

“Smoke makes me woke up,” said one woman.

“We just heard people screaming at us, just get out the building,” said Reno Rangal.

He grabbed his family of seven and did just that.  Rangal said he was thankful to survive the fire that forced 31 people from their homes. But the morning after his emotion was more somber.

“I’m frustrated. There’s a huge frustration,” he said.

He was expressing the frustration many residents felt — because they still didn’t know the cause of the blaze.

They know it started in a second floor bedroom, around 2 a.m.. But that apartment was vacant.

The building’s  owner didn’t  want to talk on camera. He says he called the police a week ago when he found transients on his property and kicked them out. Despite the melted door, and melted paint. graffiti still lingered on the walls.

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“The unit has been empty for quite a while,” Rangal said.

Which is why many here are wondering how a fire started.

“When the fire department came they found the door wide open,” Rangal said.

Arson investigators were on the scene but haven’t released a cause.  Regardless of the answer, it won’t help the Rangal family tonight. Their home was next door to where the fire started.

“We don’t know what we can salvage,” Rangal said.

All four apartments on the second floor are uninhabitable.

“We have no idea what’s going on,  We have no idea what the next step is or where we’ll be,” Rangal said.

Despite the loss of most of their personal possessions, many here told Benedict they were able to salvage the most important thing of all — their lives.

Some are salvaging what they can — thankful they have what matters most.

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“Most important we are safe,” said one resident.