AUGUSTA —  Key Plaza on Water Street was evacuated early Thursday morning after equipment with an underground transformer failed, creating electrical problems in the building.

The Augusta Fire Department investigated the smoke in the building around 7 a.m. and evacuated those who had started arriving for work.

Augusta Deputy Fire Chief Dave Groder said the building would not be occupied until the problem was corrected and the fire alarm system was working again.

Both Water and Commercial streets were closed for about an hour Thursday morning to accommodate firetrucks and a crew from Central Maine Power.

Catharine Hartnett, a CMP spokeswoman, said the outage lasted about 2.5 hours and said the failure was related to a piece of equipment on a transformer. About seven CMP customers in the area were affected by the outage, she said.

“A little bit of smoke got in the building and started running the stairwell because it’s an open area for it to go,” Groder said. “Having smoke in the building, and not knowing exactly what was going on, we made sure everyone was out of the building.”

No one was injured, he said, and the Hallowell Fire Department provided coverage for the Augusta Fire Department.

Key Plaza is a prominent building in downtown Augusta, housing office space for hundreds of workers. About 76% of the 76,000-square-foot building is being leased to the state of Maine.


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