NEW BEDFORD — Tenants at Harborview Towers East described a frantic scene after a fire Wednesday night at the high-rise, which is just south of downtown.

Diana Fedora, a 33-year-old mother of three, lives on the fifth floor next door to the apartment where the fire started.

"I walked out my balcony, saw the flames, the black smoke, grabbed my three children and ran. It was scary. I ran downstairs as fast as I could," she said Thursday in an interview outside the building.

The hallway was filled with smoke, and she chose the side of the building where the smoke was not as thick, walked past three doors and down the stairs to the outside.

She remained across the street in the parking lot at Harborview Towers West with her children, ages 9, 2 and 11 months, from 8:30 p.m. until 2:45 a.m. Thursday. Red Cross volunteers gave her a voucher for her family to stay at a local hotel.

Now she has to pick up the pieces after the fire. "They broke all my windows, and my floor is flooded. I lost everything," she said, explaining she lost all their clothes and furniture and she has no renter's insurance.

Ivelisse Rivera and Victor Rivera said they also fled their apartments during the fire. 

Tenants in at least four apartments were temporarily displaced Wednesday night after the two-alarm fire, which caused the death of a family cat, said Fire Chief Michael Gomes. No one was injured in the blaze.

The blaze appears to have started in a fifth-floor bedroom and damaged the apartment above on the sixth floor when the bedroom window broke and flames lapped the exterior of the upper levels of the building, he said. Four apartments on the building's lower floors suffered water damage.

Gomes estimated the total damage is between $80,000 to $100,000.

The fire was reported about 8:25 p.m.

When firefighters responded, there were flames shooting out the fifth-floor bedroom window and they immediately struck a second alarm, signalizing for more personnel and resources to come to the scene, he said. Firefighters carried their gear up the stairs and walked down the hallways to attack the blaze.

"Firefighters did an outstanding job in keeping the fire in the apartment of origin," Gomes said. "Things went very well."

Jennifer Mieth, a spokeswoman for the state Fire Marshal's office, said the fire does not appear to have been the result of any foul play. 

"It appears accidental. It doesn't appear to be the result of any intentional act," Mieth said. 

Gomes said there are no sprinklers on the property because the building is less than 75 feet tall and is exempt. Smoke detectors tripped the fire alarm and fire officials received the alarm, which was followed by a 911 call and firefighters were on the scene in about four minutes, Gomes said. He said sprinklers would have helped contain the fire, but not extinguish it.

Pen Wisneski, president of Reliant Realty Services LLC, the building's management company, said all the tenants except the people in the unit where the fire started have been relocated to other units.

She said there are fire extinguishers on each floor and they have no plans to install a sprinkler system in the building. "We make every effort to keep people as safe as possible," she said.

Harborview Towers consists of two buildings with a total of 144 units of affordable housing. The fire was in the building located at 60 S. Second St. Omni America LLC has owned the properties since November 2010, according to the company's website. Michael Castillo, a principal in the company, was at the fire scene on Thursday and confirmed that former Red Sox slugger Mo Vaughn is another of the principal owners.

Follow Curt Brown on Twitter @CurtBrown_SCT.