NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark — A life and death scenario became reality for a teen following a North Little Rock apartment fire Tuesday morning, which NLR police said killed 3 people. 

North Little Rock Police Department says officers and the North Little Rock Fire Department responded to Shorter College Garden Apartments just before 2:30 a.m. 

For 15-year-old Verenta Jackson and his family, Tuesday morning at Shorter College Gardens Apartments changed their lives after it caught fire.  

“I fell asleep for a quick second. My aunt was on the phone with my other auntie, and she said she heard a boom,” said Jackson.

Jackson says his aunt woke him to alert him of the fire, he adds it didn’t start in their apartment but one nearby.

“It scared me to death,” said Jackson. 

However, Jackson says he and his dad sprang into action once they heard screaming. 

“My little sister was still in there [apartment unit] sleep when I went to go get the next-door neighbors with my dad.” Jackson says after his, ‘mama said what about your little sister and I went in there and I grabbed her.” 

Despite him and his dad helping those around them he says they tried to continue to get other neighbors to safety. 

“My dad tried to go in there [a neighbor’s apartment unit]  by force because the doors were locked. It was too hot to grab it then that’s when the building collapsed on her [ a neighbor],” said Jackson. 

 Jackson is still coming to terms with the reality of what happened. 

“When I heard about them 3 people I liked because I knew they were good people,” said Jackson. 

The tragedy also hit home for NLR native Rashaun Wilburd.

“I actually raised my son in Shorter Garden Apartments,” said Wilburd. 

Wilbur along with 3 other men who are from the area wanted to do something to help. 

“The first thing they [families affected by the fire] told us they needed was somewhere to stay,” said Wilburd. 

The four men along with the help of North Little Rock’s mayor were able to assist 12 families by putting them in hotels. 

“ We were able to buy over 100 outfits, pairs of shoes, diapers, food, and hotels,” said Wilburd.  

Jackson’s family was also one of the families Wilburd helped. 

“They gave me some clothes, they gave me two pairs of some Jordans,” said Wilburd. 

Jackson says he gives all his thanks to his faith. 

“I know God got something planned for us that was just a quick little storm,” said Wilburd. 

Officials with the NLRFD say they are waiting on the coroner’s office to give positive identifications of the victims. They are also still investigating the cause of the fire.