Smoke at state Capitol sends workers home early

Saturday, February 25th 2006, 4:48 pm
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Workers at the state Capitol were sent home early Friday after smoke was detected in parts of the building.

Air in conference rooms on the fourth floor of the Capitol's southwest side became hazy as smoke filtered in and the smell of smoke was evident on the Capitol's fourth and fifth floors.

Carlis Bruce, a member of the House Sergeant of Arms staff, said he smelled smoke around 3:30 p.m. near a fourth-floor elevator and the scent spread throughout the building.

``Maintenance responded very quickly,'' Bruce said.

Capitol maintenance crews removed ceiling tiles from the conference rooms and firefighters from the Oklahoma City Fire Department inspected areas of the fourth and fifth floors in an attempt to locate the source.

The smoke was finally traced to a malfunctioning motor in an air handling system on the building's sixth floor, said Oklahoma Highway Patrol Lt. Rusty Rhoades. The motor was shut down and an air conditioning contractor was called in to replace the motor, Rhoades said.

Officials said the problem did not produce any flames.

The Legislature was in recess Friday and the evacuation did not affect lawmakers.