World Trade Center remains closed to most employees Building is without heat

elevator service is limited

December 08, 1997|By Mike Farabaugh | Mike Farabaugh,SUN STAFF

The World Trade Center at Baltimore's Inner Harbor will be closed to all but essential personnel today because it lacks heat and has only limited elevator service, Maryland Port Administration officials said yesterday.

A small electrical fire on the 28th floor of the 30-story building forced evacuation Friday of about 70 tenants, their employees and visitors, said MPA officials.

They estimated that about 1,000 people left the building, which MPA operates, after the fire at 2: 16 p.m. set off automatic sprinklers and silent smoke detectors.

Sara Moriarity, an MPA spokeswoman, said yesterday that because of the lack of heat, temperatures inside portions of the skyscraper had dipped into the 50s. The building does have electricity and water, Moriarity said.

She said building staff is checking each system, floor by floor, and bringing them on line slowly.

Moriarity said that any decision on reopening the World Trade Center tomorrow would be made today.

For business over the weekend and today, tenants were asked to designate no more than three employees to enter the building to take care of necessary affairs, she said.

"We have had two elevators operating and extra building staff can assist those coming into work [today]," Moriarity said.

Today's closing is not related to the fire-response system, which officials at first thought had malfunctioned Friday when alarm bells did not sound.

The alarm system was inspected and found to be working properly, according to John Stevens, project manager for the building's maintenance contractor, but no one had pulled a manual lever to activate it.

The sprinkler system activated to extinguish the fire and silent smoke detectors alerted fire officials and building security, Moriarity said.

Pub Date: 12/08/97

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