More than a dozen people displaced after massive Oakland apartment fire

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PITTSBURGH —

Several fire departments were called to fight a massive blaze at an Oakland building Friday morning.

Officials said the fire began inside of a three-story apartment building on Zulema Street.

Flames could be seen shooting through the rooftop from miles away.

Emergency workers said the building was evacuated and everyone is accounted for.

Many of the residents, who are now displaced, are college students.

"By the time I went into the hallway it was filled with smoke so I thought, 'I better get out of there,'" University of Pittsburgh senior Lindsay Meyer said.

Meyer said she ran out of the burning building with only the clothes on her back. She said her roommate, who is an international student, wasn't home when the fire erupted.

"She's from South Africa. I don't know how to tell her where she lives is gone," Meyer said.

Resident Charlie Koch said he ran back into the building to alert other residents of the fire.

"There was black smoke. I knew nobody could see and I had a flashlight on my phone so I turned it on and tried to help people get down from the building," Koch said. "When I saw the flames in the basement I thought, 'It's not good to stay in the building any longer.'"

Firefighters said after they confirmed everyone was out of the building safely, they made it their first priority to stop the flames from spreading to other nearby buildings.

 "We're not going to risk anyone getting hurt for an empty building. We are going to contain the fire," Pittsburgh fire department Chief Darryl Jones said.

Jones confirmed Friday afternoon that investigators determined that the cause of the fire was faulty electrical wiring in the basement of the building.

The American Red Cross is assisting residents with food and shelter. The University of Pittsburgh is offering temporary housing for displaced students.