Mercy office building evacuated in Janesville

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Gazette staff
Tuesday, February 4, 2014

JANESVILLE—More than 300 workers vacated the MercyCare Building on the Mercy Health System Campus late Tuesday morning for a small electrical fire.

The fire broke out when a contract worker was drilling into a wall to install shelving, said David Kurtz, Mercy vice president for facilities.

The worker did not know the drill would penetrate a 120-volt electrical panel, creating “a pretty good flashback,” Kurtz said.

Fire broke out but was quickly put out with an extinguisher, Kurtz said.

The worker suffered minor burns. He was treated and released at the emergency room of the nearby Mercy Hospital and Trauma Center.

The worker was back on the job Tuesday afternoon, Kurtz said.

The fire broke out on the third floor of the building's south wing.

The split-level office building, which is the former Riverview Clinic, has five levels, all of them occupied by various parts of the Mercy Health System administration, an EMS training center and MercyCare health insurance, Kurtz said.

No patients are seen there.

About 320 workers took shelter at the nearby hospital.

The damage was contained to a small area on the third floor, which also suffered a power outage, Kurtz said.

Work was expected to continue through Tuesday night to restore power, repair the damage and clean up the fire extinguisher mess, Kurtz said, and all should be back to normal by Wednesday morning.

Kurtz praised the calm actions by Mercy staff and “outstanding” response by the Janesville Fire Department.

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