Sunday, August 5, 2012

Electrical problem blamed for smoke in Pittsburgh skyscraper - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

By Matthew Santoni

Published: Sunday, August 5, 2012, 10:52 p.m.
Updated 10 minutes ago

An apparent electrical problem caused a small explosion and filled the upper floors of a Downtown high-rise with thin, acrid smoke Sunday night, Pittsburgh firefighters said.

Firefighters were called to the 21-story Investment Building in the 200 block of Fourth Avenue around 10 p.m. for reports of an explosion and fire. Assistant Chief Tom Cook said an apparent electrical problem on the seventh floor was responsible for the smoke, although the damage was not extensive and no one was injured.

The few people inside the building were evacuated.

Nancy Schaefer was on the top floor working late on payroll for the Student Conservation Association when she smelled the smoke. When she found the stairwell full of smoke, she said, she was afraid she was trapped.

â€Å"There was a lot of smoke in the stairwell, which, if you’re on the top floor, well... I guess I got a little panicked,” said Schaefer, 52, of the Central North Side.

Firefighters evacuated the lower floors of the building and made sure the electrical problem had not sparked a fire, then cleared the scene by 10:30. Arson investigators were then called to the scene.

Matthew Santoni is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5625 or

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