Hamilton Center evacuated after fire scare

Photo courtesy of Columbus Fire Department.

The Hamilton Ice Arena had to be evacuated yesterday afternoon after what first appeared to be smoke from a fire in the basement.

Employees noticed the smoke at about 1 p.m. yesterday afternoon and evacuated the building of staff and customers, which included 10 skaters and four employees. Columbus firefighters were called in and saw white smoke coming from the roof.

Firefighters found the smoke was coming from an electrical and mechanical room in the basement and was accompanied by a loud hissing sound, as if sprinklers were spraying says Capt. Mike Wilson, spokesman for the fire department. But there was no fire.

Instead, firefighters were told that the six compressors running in the basement each had hydraulic fluid and 70 pounds of freon in them. A gas test discovered that a freon leak was the cause of the smoke. Firefighters ventilated the smoke and gas from the basement before turning the building back over to the city parks department after about four hours.