Power Surge Forces Evacuation of Fraternity House
COLUMBIA - Smoke forced an evacuation of the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity house around 12:30 Tuesday, when the Columbia Fire Department was dispatched to the building at 24 E Stewart Road.
Public Safety Joint Communications advised fire crews that a delivery truck had struck and pulled the electrical service drop away from the building and that the power to the building was now out, as well as several light fixtures in the basement that were smoking.
Fire crews found the building had been evacuated and smoke was coming from the roof area. Fire crews also found that the electrical service drop was still draped over the delivery truck. The driver was out of the truck and was not injured.
Fire crews used thermal imaging cameras searching for any hidden fire in walls, ceilings, and floors as the power surge ran through the entire building's wiring. Crews found one small area on where over-heated wiring charred the floor. The area was isolated and posed no additional threat of fire or smoke spread.
Columbia Water and Light disconnected the service drop and the building was without power for several hours.
By 3 p.m., an electrician had inspected the wiring and was working with the division of Building and Site Development and Water and Light to connect power to the building.
There were no injuries and damage is estimated at less than $1,000.