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MISSION VIEJO | COMMUNITY NEWS FOCUS

Smoke Prompts Evacuation of 500

May 14, 1997|FRANK MESSINA

About 500 workers were evacuated by firefighters who found smoke but no fire Tuesday morning at a medical office complex next to Mission Hospital Regional Medical Center.

San Diego Gas & Electric officials said a fuse box malfunctioned about 10:15 a.m, causing a power outage that was expected to be repaired by Tuesday night.

Shortly after the outage, rooftop air conditioners began to spew smoke, and the Orange County Fire Authority was called.

"We saw people scurrying around, then we were asked to leave the building," said Anita Kitaen, a Leisure World resident who was waiting for an elevator just before the blackout.

Although medical treatments from kidney dialysis to cosmetic surgery are performed at the medical complex, there were no reports of any procedures being interrupted by the evacuation and power outage.

A few patients receiving dialysis and chemotherapy were moved to the hospital to complete their treatment.

With initial reports of smoke at a medical facility, the Fire Authority responded with 45 firefighters and 15 fire units.

Other than a few frazzled nerves, a Fire Authority spokesman said, the evacuation was carried out smoothly, and there was little damage beyond the air conditioners.

Late Tuesday afternoon, an SDG&E spokesman said the power company hadn't yet determined why the fuse box caused the power outage.

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