The incident occurred on Crawford Street, Mount Salem, St. James, the seventeen people left homeless includes eight children.
The houses, which were in close proximity to each other, were made of wood.
The victims say they were awakened by the heat of the fire about 4:30.
Five units responded to the blaze.
Acting Assistant Superintendent Fitzroy Thomas of the St. James Fire Department said they have not yet ascertained the cause of the fire.