AUGUSTA, Maine — The Cross Office Building, home to state agencies and legislative offices, was evacuated Thursday morning because of a dust cloud that spread around workers in the building’s basement.
Fire alarms in the building went off around 10:50 a.m. and occupants streamed into the surrounding parking lots. They returned to the building in about 25 minutes after firefighters cleared the building.
Steven Leach, battalion chief for the Augusta Fire Department, said Thursday afternoon that the fire alarms were set off by dust that was stirred up by tradesmen working on a project in the basement. Leach said reopening the building was delayed because the fire alarms automatically set off a sprinkler system. The sprinklers did not fully activate because there was no fire, but a small amount of water did require cleanup.
“There was no damage,” said Leach. “It was a slow leak. That’s what took so long to get the situation sorted out.”
The neighboring State House was not affected as the Legislature proceeded with its business.