Firefighters arrived about 1:30 a.m. to find flames shooting through one of the three-story units. Within minutes, the entire building was engulfed. Tenants were being taken to a nearby school that is being used as an emergency shelter.
The buildings' alarms activated properly, but the complex did not have a sprinkler system because it was built in 1976 when sprinklers were not required, the Norwich Bulletin reported on its Web site Saturday.
Also, firefighters had to lay three miles of hose to the site. As sunrise broke, firefighters from Norwich and surrounding towns continued to pour water into the shell of the smoldering building.
Norwich is about 40 miles east of Hartford.