Smoky situation at City Hall forces brief evacuation

City Hall employees file back into the building Friday afternoon after being given the all clear by fire officials. Firefighters, meanwhile, file out of the building. Firefighters responded after a bowl of overcooked pasta filled the Police Department with smoke and set off fire alarms.

ELLSWORTH — City Hall was evacuated briefly during the lunch hour Friday after a cooking error filled part of the building with smoke.

Fire Chief Richard Tupper said a “small bowl of what appeared to be macaroni noodles” was being cooked in a microwave in the Police Department around 12:30 p.m.

“Apparently it was being microwaved a little too long,” said Tupper, who explained that the overcooked pasta generated smoke which then filled the Police Department and set off alarms throughout City Hall.

The building was evacuated, which includes the Fire Department in the lower level of the building. Tupper said firefighters have to get all of the trucks and as much other apparatus as possible out of the building as a precaution.

About eight firefighters responded to the smoking pasta situation, and used a positive pressure fan to get rid of the residual smoke in the building. Tupper said without taking that step, it can be difficult to reset the fire alarms.

The Fire Department had been enjoying a cookout prior to the alarm going off, and there was initially some speculation smoke from the cooking grills had blown back in through the windows in the Police Department.

City employees stood in the parking lot on the Church Street side of City Hall while firefighters did their work, and took their temporary displacement — the evacuation lasted about 10 minutes, according to Tupper — in stride.

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Steve Fuller

Steve Fuller

Reporter at The Ellsworth American,
Steve Fuller worked at The Ellsworth American from 2012 to early 2018. He covered the city of Ellsworth, including the Ellsworth School Department and the city police beat, as well as the towns of Amherst, Aurora, Eastbrook, Great Pond, Mariaville, Osborn, Otis and Waltham. A native of Waldo County, he served as editor of Belfast's Republican Journal prior to joining the American. He lives in Orland.
Steve Fuller

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