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[Updated] Government Center Parking Garage Closed to Alive @ Five Attendees

A transformer in the basement of the Stamford Government Center caught fire Wednesday afternoon, causing the evacuation of the building.

[Update, 4:20 p.m. 6/21]

The Government Center will remain closed Thursday evening, and therefore, the parking garage will not accesible to those attending tonight's Alive @ Five concert, according to Mayor Pavia's office. Evening meetings scheduled for tonight have also been canceled.

“We are very pleased at the efficient transition of essential city departments to remote locations to maintain critical services,” Pavia said in the statement. “Connecticut Light & Power has been working around the clock to replace the transformer and restore power to Government Center in extreme conditions, as quickly as possible."

A spokesman for Connecticut Light & Power estimates that power will be restored at Government Center during the evening hours.


[Update, 9:12 a.m. 6/21]

The Government Center will be closed to all public access today, according to a statement released by Mayor Pavia's office.

All public meetings scheduled to take place today are canceled and will be rescheduled. The WIC and Social Services programs will be closed today.

All emergency and essential personnel are working and available as
necessary. All other municipal public services and facilities are open and
operating normally, including the Citizens Service Center, which is open and will be receiving calls at 203-977-4140.

For residents looking for a cooling center, all of the city's firehouse will be open and available.

[Update, 12:15 a.m. 6/21/12]

Despite a fire that broke out in a transformer vault in the basement of the Stamford Government Center Wednesday afternoon, causing an evacuation of the building and a complete shutdown for several hours, the building will open as normal on Thursday, said Executive Aide to the Mayor Lynn Arnow.

Arnow said the problem was being repaired overnight Wednesday into Thursday and anticipated no problems that would keep staff away from normal duties Thursday, she said.

***

A fire in the basement of the around 3:50 p.m. this afternoon caused the evacuation of the building.

The event occurred while the graduation was taking place, and Mayor Michael Pavia had to make an impromptu exit.

"We're going to have to cut the power and assess the situation," said the mayor on scene. "It's not looking good."

Assistant Fire Chief William Smith said no one was injured and the evacuation of the center went smoothly. Smoke had been pouring out of the air-vent grates outside, he said, one of the visible cues for firefighters outside as to the status of the situation.

"There were no injuries. Evacuation procedures began from the top floor and worked their way down," he said. "Because this is a government building and everyone's been schooled on evacuation procedure, things went smoother than most places may have."

Emergency personnel couldn't enter the basement vault where the transformer caught fire until the power was cut and the situation assessed by CL&P administrators and an all-clear was given.

Smith said they would have to wait until later this evening to find out if the building would be open in the morning. During the situation, electricity was being provided by generators.

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