Several other residents reached safety by sliding down angled awnings on the residence and dropping into the arms of neighbors, The New York Times reported.
Firefighters saved a teenage girl and 73-year-old woman they retrieve from inside the burning building, the newspaper said. The two victims were hospitalized in stable condition.
Two firefighters also were injured.
Police identified those killed in the 5:30 a.m. blaze as Jahvonte Smith, 12, John Debro, 73, and Annetta Isaac, 71, the Times said.
The fire apparently broke out after a gas leak occurred, police said.