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Gulf Tower evacuated due to possible transformer fire, smoke rises from top of building


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    PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The Gulf Tower downtown was evacuated Wednesday morning after a basement fire caused smoke to pour from the top of the skyscraper around the Weather Beacon.

Pittsburgh Public Safety officials say the possible transformer fire that broke out around 9:30 a.m. caused a power outage to half the building. The “active fire” was knocked down around 11:30 a.m. and smoke was being ventilated out of the building.

“This is a five-alarm response from the fire department today for a transformer fire in the basement of the Gulf Tower,” Pittsburgh Public Safety spokeswoman Cara Cruz said.

The fire was contained to the basement but caused smoke to fill the entire structure.

Fire officials say the smoke poured from the top of the building because “a ventilation shaft forces it out per building design.”

They are asking the public to avoid the area of 7th Street between Smithfield Street to the ramps for the highway.

“This one is really smoky,” Cruz said. “There’s a lot of wires in the basement, making it a little more toxic and more smoky than usual, but things are going really well.”

Firefighters went floor-by-floor to make sure everyone got out of the building.

Cruz said one person who uses a wheelchair was able to get out of the building safely. At this time, there have been no reports of injuries.

Public Safety set up a station for firefighters so they could swap out while putting out the fire and ventilating the building

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