STATE COLLEGE An electric steamer left unattended is believed to be the cause of a fire Friday that forced the evacuation of a State College apartment building and slowed traffic on South Atherton Street.
No one was injured in a small fire that was contained to a single unit in the Pepper Mill Condominiums building, firefighters said.
The fire started shortly after 3 p.m. in a third-floor apartment, authorities said at the scene.
No one was home when the fire began, the officials said.
Assistant Alpha Fire Chief Tony Berrena said responding firefighters were the first to alert residents.
“Nobody pulled the fire alarm,” Berrena said. “We pulled the alarm and got the floors below evacuated.”
As more crews arrived, the upper floors were also evacuated. Firefighters, meanwhile, were able to contain the fire to the one unit, but smoke filled the entire third floor of the building.
“We got in there and did a good job of knocking it down,” Berrena said. “We do a lot of training for this, and it pays off.”
Most residents had returned to the building within an hour. The rest were expected to be allowed to return when firefighters were finished clearing smoke from the building.
Traffic was detoured from South Atherton Street while crews responded.
Calls to the apartment building’s office were not answered Friday.