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Smoke Alarm Sounds: Keck Observatory II Evacuated

July 27, 2017, 9:35 AM HST
* Updated July 27, 9:52 AM
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Keck Observatory image.

The smoke alarm went off in the WM Keck Observatory II control room at about 3 p.m. on Wednesday, July 26, the observatory reported last night.

The fire-suppression system activated and the facility was evacuated, according to Chief of Operations Rich Matsuda.

“This is an area that is separate from the dome where our Keck II telescope is housed,” Matsuda relayed in an email. “Our summit crew reported smoke, but no visible flames.”

Matsuda said there were about 17 summit crew members working at the time of the incident.

No one was injured or in physical danger during the incident.

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Emergency services were notified, as well as the Office of Mauna Kea Management Rangers and the Pōhakuloa Fire Department.

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The Pōhakuloa Fire Department, which is the closest to the Maunakea Observatories, responded to the scene.

The Hawai‘i County Fire Department and Hawai‘i Police Department also responded and remained on standby.

By around 5 p.m., Pōhakuloa Fire assessed that it was safe to re-enter the building. No additional support from Hawaii County Fire or Police was needed. Preliminary assessments show that it appears the smoke may have been due to an electrical issue with the air conditioning unit in the control room. No hazardous chemicals or materials were involved. There is no apparent damage to the facility other than the air-conditioning unit.

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No additional support from the fire or police departments was needed. Preliminary assessments show that it appears the smoke may have been due to an electrical issue with the air conditioning unit in the control room. No hazardous chemicals or materials were involved. There is no apparent damage to the facility other than the air-conditioning unit.

Preliminary assessments show that it appears the smoke may have been due to an electrical issue with the air conditioning unit in the control room. No hazardous chemicals or materials were involved. There is no apparent damage to the facility other than the air-conditioning unit.

There is no apparent damage to the facility other than the airconditioning unit.

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