Troup County Government Center evacuated for smoke alarm

Published 3:02 pm Thursday, August 9, 2018

While students were beginning to ease into the first day of school at Troup County Schools, county employees working at the government center dealt with a different type of excitement when smoke in an elevator prompted the evacuation of the building.

According to the Troup County Sheriff’s Office, which provides security for the building, no one was in the judge’s elevator when the smoke was detected, but the building was evacuated until the source of the smoke could be confirmed and addressed.

“One of the elevator motors locked up — they have belts and pulleys on there — and it is just like a lawnmower. If it locks up, they are still going to tense,” Chief Deputy Jon Whitney said. “Then the belts are petroleum based too, like a tire, so when they get hot they are going to smoke. They didn’t catch fire. They just put out a lot of smoke.”

Whitney said that while the problem proved to be minor, TCSO encourages evacuation in situations where the cause or severity of an issue is still unknown. He also noted that the fire containment systems in the building functioned correctly during the event — with doors automatically closing to create fire safety compartments — and county employees followed the correct evacuation procedures.

“We treated it like it was a real fire, and we evacuated the facility,” Whitney said. “Anytime we see something like that, we are going to evacuate.”

He said the elevator would need to be repaired and attributed the issue to normal wear and tear.