Fire forces evacuation of mall
July 26, 2006
An electrical fire forced the evacuation of the Main Street Mall Tuesday morning, sending the people inside, including a 9-year-old girl attending a summer camp, onto the street as firefighters descended on what is one of Main Street’s largest buildings.
No injuries were reported, Tricia Hurd, the spokeswoman for the Park City Fire District, said. Hurd, who responded to the mall, said an estimated more than 20 people evacuated from the building at about 9:30 a.m. She said firefighters found the ceiling smoldering in front of Park City Colors, an art gallery on the main floor of the mall.
Hurd said firefighters tore open the ceiling to search for the fire and to ventilate the smoke and, once power was shut off, the smoldering ceased. Ten firefighters responded and spent about 80 minutes at the scene, she said. The Park City Police Department said people were let back in the building at 10:50 a.m.
Ron Ivie, City Hall’s chief building official, who is investigating, said the fire was confined to equipment attached to track lighting on the main floor. He said the fire melted metal attached to the lighting.
Ivie had not determined a cause by noon but said he is probing why the electrical equipment smoldered without tripping a circuit breaker that would have disconnected the electricity.
He said he was unsure when the electrical equipment was installed but one piece found during the investigation indicated it was manufactured in 2001. Ivie said he plans to question the manufacturer of the lighting but did not disclose the name of the company.
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Ivie said he hoped to finish the investigation by Wednesday and indicated the fire is not suspicious.
"It looks pretty accidental to me," Ivie said.
Outside the mall, a fire truck, an engine, a rescue vehicle, an ambulance and Park City Police Department SUV’s blocked a small stretch of Main Street as the firefighters converged. People evacuated from the mall and other onlookers watched from the sidewalk across the street.
Abram Carolan, a worker at Park City Group, a software company on the upper level of the mall, said it took a couple minutes for he and about 20 co-workers to evacuate after a fire alarm sounded.
"Someone just said get out of the building because there was a real fire. I didn’t see anything or smell anything," Carolan said.
Jane Talley, who directs a youth camp in the mall for the Egyptian Theatre Company, said one of the camp’s kids was inside when the building was evacuated. Talley reported seeing smoke coming from the mall’s front door.
"We’re standing here so we can divert kids from going down," said Talley, who planned to move Tuesday’s camp session from the mall to the theatre, which is across Main Street.
Jojo Diesel, a 9-year-old camper, was sitting at a table inside the mall when the fire alarm sounded, she said. Diesel said it took about 90 seconds to leave the building. Diesel said she saw "huge sparks coming from the ceiling."
"I was so freaked out," Diesel said. "I ran out."