ATLANTA — Crews successfully extinguished a three-story fire near the Atlanta University Center late Wednesday evening.

The scene was near Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and Sunset Avenue. According to Sgt. Cortez Stafford, fire crews were originally responding to reports of smoke in the area around 9 p.m.

"Station 1 is less than about half-a-mile away and, in fact, our division chief actually came outside going to his vehicle and saw smoke and flames in this area," Stafford said. "About that same time, engine 1 was already en route to smoke in this area."

He said they saw the fire as soon as they pulled out of the station and immediately upgraded the call. While it's not on their campus, Stafford said the buildings and property that were on fire belonged to Clark Atlanta University.

"When our units did arrive on-scene they found a large building - a three-story building - with fire showing on the third floor and immediately compressing through the roof-line," Stafford said.

He said that by the time they had lines on the ground the fire had already spread a good deal.

"So it was moving pretty quickly," he said.

Fire crews responded by putting up aerial ladders to hit the fire from above. But he said they didn't make an interior attack.

"We reframed from going in the structure because, number one, this building looked like it was under construction, they were boarded up on the bottom half of the building," he said. "It didn't look like anyone was in there - as a matter of fact, the building was too unsafe for us to enter."

He said that they didn't bring anyone into the building even after the fire because it was considered too structurally unstable.

Stafford said fire investigators were on the way to the scene and, at the time, it was still unclear what started the fire.

"We're going to try to determine that and try to get some folks in there which may be in the morning when we get some daylight out," he said.

Stafford said that he believes the building "had been vacant for some time" and that no one should have been in it when the fire happened. No injuries have been reported. 

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