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SkyVue Apartments Evacuated Due To Electrical Fire In Parking Garage

OAKLAND (KDKA) -- Residents and students living in an upscale Oakland high-rise apartment building had to find alternative housing Sunday evening.

An electrical fire, explosion and billowing smoke sent residents out of the building on Forbes Avenue.

Firefighters rushed in to evacuate other residents, even carrying one man down a dozen flights of stairs on his back.

Students and young professionals call SkyVue home. The luxury apartment high rise, completed only a few years ago, is in the student, medical corridor of the city. It has almost 400 units, and getting everyone out included some acts of heroism.

KDKA's Meghan Schiller Reports:


The fire broke out in the high-rise garage.

"There was a report of an explosion of some type and firefighters, Pittsburgh Fire and EMS and Police as well as the University of Pittsburgh Police all responded and found pretty heavy smoke coming out of the garage area," said Chris Togneri Public Information Officer for the City of Pittsburgh.

The building houses students from Pitt, Carnegie Mellon, and Carlow University as well as young professionals who stood in the grass outside for hours. Many had their dogs and cats with them as they waited to hear when they would be allowed back in after some scary moments.

"Possessions are material as long as myself and my dog and every loving being in the Apartments are safe that's all that matters," said Andrew Wade a student and SkyVue resident.

"We got to the first floor and we heard a distant alarm going off and we got to the first floor and it was all white smoke," said Annie Liongson another student and SkyVue resident.

A huge number of first responders were called to the 14 story building of 389 apartment units. The city's high-rise evacuation plan was implemented, meaning the fire went to an automatic three alarms.

A viewer tweeted a photo to us from inside the building of one act of selfless heroism. A Pittsburgh firefighter is captured carrying a resident with a broken ankle on his back down a dozen flights of stairs.

"Yeah, I really appreciate that," said Tinyu Hong on being helped out of the building by Pittsburgh firefighters. "I'm kind of desperate because I live on the top of the floor."

The Salvation Army was on hand while the universities and management from SkyVue found alternative housing for residents for the night many of whom had no family in the area or anywhere to go.

"I'd imagine that there would be a lot of concern if you don't have anywhere to go," said resident Matt Cain.

Everyone has been housed tonight and there were no injuries. We're told the sprinklers were activated in the garage but not in the living areas, so none of the apartments were damaged.

No word on how long residents will be displaced.

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