MUSKOGEE, Oklahoma - A fire at a Muskogee assisted living center sent at least three people to the hospital and left dozens of units uninhabitable.

The fire department allowed people back inside the apartments with the least damage to get essentials, like medication.

The fire started in a building on the bottom floor.

The fire chief said when they arrived, three apartments were full of fire.

For the most part, everyone got out on their own, but some did take in a lot of smoke and three people were taken to the hospital.

The complex generally has older residents, and many of them are disabled, but they heard the alarms and got out.

Mary Friese, who just pulled up when the fire started, and Richard Friese, who was inside, described what they saw and heard.

“I got parked over here and I mean, by the time I got out of my car the flames just went straight up. I mean it just went straight up. It seemed like it took forever to get the fire trucks here,” Mary Friese said.

Richard Friese said, “When this alarm goes off in this building, you have no trouble hearing it. It sounds like an air raid siren.”

The fire chief helped direct residents back into some apartments but 36 units are off limits for now.

At least a dozen appear to have substantial damage and the others have mainly smoke damage.