An apartment on Iowa Street caught fire this morning, sending firefighters hurrying to put it out before it spread to the densely packed neighborhood surrounding Southern Oregon University.

An apartment on Iowa Street caught fire this morning, sending firefighters hurrying to put it out before it spread to the densely packed neighborhood surrounding Southern Oregon University.

No one was injured in the blaze at 1301 Iowa St., which was reported by a passerby at 10:43 a.m., said Marguerite Hickman, division chief with Ashland Fire & Rescue. The sole resident of the apartment was not home when the fire started, she said.

Three engines responded to the fire — two from Ashland Fire & Rescue and one from Jackson County Fire District 5 — and by 10:56 a.m., the fire was contained, Hickman said. For minutes afterward, gray smoke could still be seen pouring out the windows and the door of the second-story apartment.

Officials do not yet know how the fire started, Hickman said.

It appears that the apartment was significantly damaged in the blaze, she said.

"Based on the fact that the fire broke out the window, I'd guess that there was a substantial amount of damage," she said.

Hickman wasn't sure whether the smoke had seeped into the apartment underneath the one that caught fire.

A woman lived in the apartment alone with her cat, said Stephanie Ryden, a freelance photographer for the Daily Tidings who lives in another apartment in the complex, located at the intersection of Iowa and California streets.

Debi Smith, who was walking her dog when she heard the sirens, said she was glad no one appeared to have been injured in the blaze.

"They keep going inside, but they haven't brought anybody out," she said.

Contact staff writer Hannah Guzik at 482-3456 ext. 226 or hguzik@dailytidings.com.