Smoke fouled the aroma of blooming flowers on LDS Church Office Building grounds as fire broke out in a paint room Wednesday, causing $75,000 in damage and forcing the evacuation of 350 workers.
Flames broke out in the room two levels below ground about 2:18 p.m., Salt Lake City Fire Battalion Chief Gordon Nicholl said. Water sprinklers quickly contained the blaze and firemen had the fire under control by 2:30, he said.Workers in the three below-ground floors were evacuated temporarily and returned to duty within 45 minutes, said LDS Church spokesman Don LeFevre. No one was evacuated from the above-ground office tower.
Forty firefighters responded to the blaze, which created "very hot, smoky conditions" but caused no injuries, Nicholl said. Damages totaling $75,000 occurred to paint, equipment and furniture, the fire department said.
Investigators had not determined a cause Wednesday afternoon.
Flames erupted in a spray painting chamber in a room where several workers were painting signs, one witness said.
"I heard someone yell `Get a fire extinguisher quick,"' said Mike Taylor, a painter inside the room at the time of the fire.
"I looked up and there were flames coming out of the door and I headed out," he said. Several workers tried to fight what Taylor called a "flash fire," but the flames grew too quickly.
Workers returned to the area by 3:30 p.m. to begin cleaning up water and debris from the incident, LeFevre said.