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Smoke forces evacuation of Wilmington church


Smoke from a malfunctioning boiler forced the evacuation of a
Wilmington church during services Sunday morning, Wilmington Fire
Department officials said.

City firefighters responded when the
smoke filled the Westminster Presbyterian Church at 1502 W. 13th St.,
off Pennsylvania Avenue, about 9:15 a.m.

Battalion Chief James R. Jobes said the occupants of the church had activated the alarm pull station due to the smell of smoke.

said further investigation found that the church’s gas-fired steam
boiler had a malfunctioning low-water indicator, which allowed the
boiler to heat up instead of shutting off and created a smoke situation
and overpressurization.

He said the fire department secured the
power and HVAC, as well as the gas, and the situation was placed under
control after the conditions were safe.

Nobody was injured, Jobes
said, and the fire was contained to the boiler for minimum damage. He
said the church is temporarily closed for today (Sunday).

said the fire department called in Delmarva Power and the city’s
Licenses & Inspections Department. Delmarva red-tagged the boiler,
which indicates it is out of service due to mechanical malfunction, and
Licenses & Inspections is set to follow up on necessary repairs for
it to be placed back in service, he said.


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