On Monday morning, just after 2 a.m., Lodi fire crews responded to a fire at the Star Hotel.
Nicholas Smith, 20, was one of the residents who was forced out of his home. He would later find out that everything he owned was destroyed in the fire. All he was able to save was two photos of his late father.
The photos had already survived another fire in Smith's past, so he made a copy of the already burnt photos to preserve them.
Smith has also been homeless before and felt lucky to have a place at the Star hotel, which housed many people in similar positions.
"It sucks. It's annoying, frustrating," said Smith. "Not having a place to put your head."
Many of Smith's neighbors are praising him and another man, Tyler Macheel for getting everyone out safely.
"I think I was the first one that noticed the fire due to the smoke and the smell," said Macheel. "There were problems with the alarm itself. No smoke detectors or alarms went off. We were sitting ducks basically."
Macheel said he pulled multiple fire alarms, but no sound went off. Other residents complained that many of the fire extinguishers also weren't working.
Fortunately, all the residents got out safely in time. Still, they're cold and homeless. Many don't know what they'll do next.
"It's not always going to be gray outside," said Smith, trying to remain positive. "I try my hardest to stay positive, but it's hard."
The American Red Cross has set up an evacuation shelter at the Lodi Fairgrounds at 413 E Lockeford Street.
Investigators are still working to determine the cause of the fire.