Shortly after lunchtime, the Gainesville Fire Department received reports of smoke coming out of a vacant apartment on the corner of Armour Street and Johnson Drive, said Gainesville Fire Chief Jon Canada.
Firefighters were able to extinguish a small fire in the apartment in minutes, but the fire, which was determined to have started in a recliner in the apartment, could have been worse, Canada said.
"It did spread into the carpet," said Canada. "So it was within just a few minutes of taking hold and becoming a serious fire."
Canada said the fire started by "direct flame contact" in a reclining chair that had been left in the apartment by a previous tenant, but Canada was hesitant to classify the fire as arson.
The cleaning crew had been in the apartment earlier in the day and discovered the fire when going in to clean, but no one was in the apartment when the fire started, Canada said.
"We feel like it was set, but we do not have any suspects at the time, because no one was in the apartment at the time," Canada said.
The fire caused about $25,000 of mostly smoke damage in the Armour Street apartment, Canada said.