Fire officials said none of the injuries was serious in the blaze that ripped through the four-story, 75-unit Terrace Apartments, KNTV, San Jose, reported.
Seventy-one people were displaced.
It took firefighters four hours to knock down the 5:30 a.m. blaze. Cause of the six-alarm fire was not immediately determined.
Roommates Matt Fisher and Adam Carpenter said they tied up cloth to semi-rappel down the building, KNTV said. Rob Sing told the station he shimmied down a fire escape.