SHAMOKIN – Fire struck a city block early Thursday morning for the third time in less than five months.

An employee of Sons of Italy spotted smoke coming from the front of a vacant three-story brick apartment building on the southeast corner of Shamokin and Sunbury streets, about a block away from the business, shortly after 4 a.m.

The employee told authorities that when she slammed a door of the business to lock up she spotted three young males standing near the corner of the fire building. The males made eye contact with her before “scrambling away.”

Firefighters made entry to the building through a front door and located burning debris in a room in the front of the first floor. One hose line was all that was needed to extinguish the fire. The speedy work of firefighters kept fire damage contained to the room.

A cause was unknown early Thursday morning and remains under investigation.

The building is adjacent to 719 and 717 N. Shamokin St., where a fire damaged both properties on Sept. 5. Eight says later, a second fire broke out in the rear of 717 N. Shamokin St. A cause for both fires was never determined and remains under investigation.