A little burned popcorn results in entire City Hall evacuation

A lunch-time snack turned crispy created smoke in the halls of Red Deer City Hall, setting of alarms and causing the evacuation of the building on Thursday.

A lunch-time snack turned crispy created smoke in the halls of Red Deer City Hall, setting of alarms and causing the evacuation of the building on Thursday.

The source of building-wide smoke alarms was burned microwave popcorn.

“It turned out to be great fire drill practice,” said Gord Klootwyk, Red Deer Emergency Services assistant platoon chief.

When smoke detectors on the third floor of City Hall went off, it put the building into a general alarm. Fire crews responded to the scene at about 11:45 a.m. The building was evacuated as a reaction to the alarm, leaving downtown Red Deer flooded with city employees awaiting word on the source of the alarms.

Firefighters searched each floor to determine if there was trouble and on the third floor they found smoke. It was isolated to a burned bag of microwave popcorn.

“There was no damage to anything and we quickly swept the building, found there were no problems and people were allowed back in.”

Several emergency vehicles responded to the call, which Klootwyk said is standard procedure when a call comes in.

“If you have internal alarms go then we have a set response,” said Klootwyk. “We didn’t know it was just popcorn in a microwave so we always respond as if there was an actual fire.”