NEW YORK — A fire in an electrical transformer at the NBC headquarters in Rockefeller Center filled lower floors with smoke and forced evacuation of the 65-story building. Saturday's "NBC Nightly News" program was switched to a Washington location.
No injuries were reported from the fire, which broke out in the sub-basement transformer at about 1:30 p.m. PDT and was under control about 3 1/2 hours later. Pat Doyle, a veteran reporter for NBC-owned WNBC-TV here, said that about 1,000 people left the building.
Chung, Tartikoff Evacuated
Among those evacuated were "Nightly News" anchor Connie Chung, NBC Entertainment President Brandon Tartikoff and comedian Steve Martin, who was to be host of the season's first "Saturday Night Live" show.
NBC correspondent Chris Wallace in Washington was pressed into duty as "Nightly News" anchor for the first of two broadcasts the program does each night. The second broadcast originated from NBC's studios in Burbank, Calif.
Wallace explained the situation and warned the television audience that "it's going to be a very rough broadcast." He filled large chunks of time by discussing the top news events with correspondents Andrea Mitchell and Irving R. Levine.