Volume 17 • Issue 23 | Oct. 29 - Nov. 4, 2004

Small fire strands government workers

An electrical fire on the 14th floor of 250 Broadway left hundreds of employees standing in the street for up to three hours on the afternoon of Wednesday October 27th. No injuries were reported.

The fire department evacuated the 25-story building from the 14th floor up, and refused entry to many more returning from lunch. “Whoever was out couldn’t get back in,” said April Fucito, a City Council employee and one of the many awaiting reentry to the building.

The building is home to many city and state employees.

Six fire trucks rushed to the scene at 2 p.m. with reports of smoke coming from a maintenance room. “There is no damage,” said Harold Myers, the fire department chief on the scene. “Everything is working fine. It was a light to moderate smoke condition.”

By around 4:30 p.m. the firefighters were leaving the building with Myers stating that the problem had not reoccurred.

Some workers’ schedules were not hugely disrupted because they were at a scheduled council meeting across the street at City Hall.

But those who were unfortunate enough to have been left standing in the street for the duration were understanding of the circumstances. “As long as everyone is safe,” said Brian Sogol, 25.

It has not been determined what caused the electrical problem, but this is not the first time the building has encountered an incident of this kind. “The same thing happened in August — the same problem, on the 22nd floor,” said Tomas Hunt, an aide to Councilmember Gale Brewer.

Hunt said the emergency officials dealt with the incident well by keeping the employees thoroughly informed as the incident unfolded. “We have a P.A. alarm system where a fire marshal tells us what’s happening. We were not left in the dark,” Hunt said.

Despite seeing and smelling the smoke, Hunt said he wasn’t nervous. “Some people may get nervous, but it seems everyone received information,” Hunt said.

—Melanie Wallis

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