Fire department responds to smoke at Hooper-Schaefer Fine Arts Center

By Rae Jefferson
Staff Writer

Fire trucks and police cars lined the driveway of the Hooper-Schaefer Fine Arts Center around 4 p.m Monday.

The Waco Fire Department and campus police responded to a call about smoke coming out of the ceiling on the building’s second floor.

Although a fire was not found, a thorough search revealed that smoke originated from an air conditioning unit in the ceiling, said Assistant Fire Chief Chris Pechacek. A motor burned out in the unit, creating smoke from burnt wires.

“Everything is fine,” he said. “It only takes one burnt wire for the air vents to smell up the place.”

Technicians began repairing the air conditioner motor after the fire department identified the smoke source. Repairs are expected to be complete by tomorrow morning.

The building’s second floor was evacuated to the lower level as a precautionary measure, Pechacek said.

Pechacek said locating the source of the smoke was challenging because of the air conditioner’s location.

“Fires that start in attic spaces are harder to find, but we located the source of the smoke,” he said.

Pechacek said a thermal camera was used to locate the heat signature of the smoke source.