The Sedalia Democrat was evacuated at approximately 8:40 a.m. Wednesday due to employees smelling smoke in the building. The Sedalia Fire Department investigated and found faulty wires in conjunction with fluorescent lighting in the Plainsman newspaper room. Employees were allowed back into the building around 9:20 a.m.
A Democrat manager said he made the call to SFD after smelling smoke in the building.
Initially the SFD arrived and climbed onto the roof to assess the air conditioning units. SFD Captain Barry White said that firefighters were going to open open the unit and investigate.
“There’s no fire showing,” he noted.
Another Democrat employee told firefighters that she had heard popping noises Sunday as she turned lights on in the Plainsman newspaper room. SFD Captain Brian McGhee and firefighter Jeremy Pepin opened the florescent lighting unit in the room and found melted electrical components with some charring on the upper end of the fixture.
“Someone may have come in and flipped the switch this morning,” McGhee said.
SFD determined that an electrical short was responsible for the smoke smell.
The room was taped off and the manager who made the initial call said he’d place a call for an electrician to look at the room’s lighting fixtures.
SFD Assistant Chief Greg Harrell said, as a note of caution, when there is a suspected fire at a home or business one should call 911 immediately and not the SFD house number.
“When they call the house number and it rings at our station, the other station doesn’t know and PCAD (Pettis County Ambulance District) and PD (Sedalia Police Department) doesn’t know,” he said. “If they’ve got smoke in a building it’s best to call 911.”
Faith Bemiss can be reached at 530-0289 or @flbemiss.