By Amy Wadas

GARFIELD (KDKA) – Flames ripped through an old apartment building in the Garfield neighborhood of Pittsburgh.

The fire started around 2:30 a.m. in the 5400-block of Broad Street in the basement of the building. It quickly spread up the walls and into the first and second floors.

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Because of the quickly spreading fire, crews had to sound three alarms for help.

Firefighters took a defensive approach once it was determined nobody was inside the building. Neighbors say the apartment building is vacant.

Crews were able to keep the fire from spreading to several other homes nearby.

Another fire broke out at the same building last June.

“Unfortunately, this building was on fire last year and left abandoned and unsecured,” neighbor Paulette Poullet said.

It was a fire that quickly went to four alarms because of the heat and humidity. The cause of the fire was never determined.

Now, the old apartment building will be demolished.

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“It’s a historical building. One of the few landmarks in Pittsburgh in Garfield. It’s really a shame to see it demolished although it’s become a nuisance at this point,” Poullet said.

The back of the three-story structure collapsed into the alley.

“The buildings on both sides are occupied so that’s why we are going to have it demolished for the safety of those people,” Assistant Chief Thomas Cook with the Pittsburgh Fire Bureau said.

Several people living in homes on either side of the fire were evacuated. They won’t be allowed back in their homes until the apartment building is demolished.

Power was also knocked out to residents in the neighborhood.

The intersection of Broad Street and North Aiken Avenue will also remain closed until the demolition is taken care of.

Cook says he doesn’t believe this fire is suspicious. However, he says it’s up to the fire marshal to determine the cause.

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