Smoke forces radio station evacuation

KELSEY FLETCHER
Last updated 15:11 13/12/2013
Smoke at radio stations
THE BREEZE FM

SCENE: Fire services were called to Mediaworks after smoke was reported in the building.

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LATEST: Manawatu radio shows were off the air for a short time this morning after an air-conditioning unit broke down and spewed smoke through the MoreFM and The Breeze studios.

Two fire trucks, including a ladder truck, were called out to the smoke-logged Mediaworks building on 5 Rangitikei St about 7.30am.

Palmerston North station officer Mark Cooper said an overheated air-conditioning unit was responsible for the smoke on the third floor of the building, where the studios where located.

''There was no fire, just a burnt out air-conditioning unit,'' he said. ''We searched the building for the cause of the smoke using a thermal imaging camera, lifting ceiling tiles.''

Mr Cooper said the fire service didn't have to do anything because the fire was out on arrival.

''It was scary for the people working in the building but it was just a matter of finding the source of the smoke to make sure there was no fire,'' he said. 

MoreFM and The Breeze breakfast shows were running without hosts for about an hour while fire crews assessed the building. 

More FM's Mike West was the first to smell the smoke, which rapidly filled the building. 

''At about 7.30am I was walking down to the kitchen to make a coffee and I smelled this smoky smell,'' he said.

''I went back and told the guys, and at this stage the building was filling up with smoke so we rang 111 and they told us to get out of the building.''

Mr West said fire crews found an electric motor had broken down in the air conditioning unit.

''We were out for about an hour, but we were back broadcasting from about 8.35am,'' he said. 

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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