MIDDLEPORT – A fire, which damaged a lower rear apartment in three-unit apartment building today, was caused by someone who had done plumbing work in the basement earlier in the day, according to investigators.

The fire broke out just after 4 p.m. in the two-story brick apartment building at 15 State St., authorities said. The owner, whose name was not immediately available, lived on the second floor and two tenants lived on the lower floors.

“They had been working in the basement soldering pipes. I don’t know how they were doing it, but they likely heated up the wood enough to start the fire,” said Middleport Village Code Enforcement Officer Brian Belson. “They were working without a permit,” he added.

Belson said the plumbing work had been done in the basement below the lower rear apartment and the fire broke out in the floor of that apartment’s back bedroom. It was quickly contained to that area and did not spread to the entire apartment. The other first-floor apartment and second floor were not damaged.

“We emptied the house and turned the power off,” Belson said. “They will need to get a plumbing permit and have it reinspected before anyone can move back in.”

Fire crews from Middleport and Medina responded after heavy smoke was reported this afternoon. The Niagara County Sheriff’s Office also responded. No injuries were reported.

Roads were are closed for a time at Vernon and Park streets and State and Maple streets, according to deputies.

The amount of damages was not immediately known.