Smoke Evacuates Benton County Building, Postpones Ambulance Meeting

The Benton County administration building during the 2012 elections

The Benton County administration building during the 2012 elections

The Benton County administration building was evacuated Tuesday afternoon after smoke was detected in the basement.

The smoke set off the building’s fire protection system around 3 p.m., causing an anti-fire dry chemical fog to disperse throughout the basement, said Benton County Judge Bob Clinard. No one was injured in the incident. The fire call shut down the building’s electricity and phones.

Employees were told to go home after the fire, and the county’s finance committee meeting set for Tuesday night was postponed for an undetermined later date, Clinard said. Committee members were scheduled to discuss the county’s rural ambulance service issue at the meeting.

The judge said officials are unsure of when phone service and electricity will be restored to the building.

Fire officials said an ultraviolet light in the main air conditioning unit melted, releasing smoke that triggered the building’s fire protection system.

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