Power Outage Forces Evacuation of Philadelphia City Hall

Philadelphia City Hall closes for day after workers evacuate as fire alarms blare during power outage.

What to Know

  • A power outage forced the closure and evacuation of Philadelphia City Hall Monday afternoon.
  • No word yet on what caused power to go out.
  • The historic City Hall is the largest municipal building in North America and was completed in 1901.

A power outage caused the evacuation of Philadelphia's century-old City Hall Monday afternoon.

A PECO problem appeared to cause the outage at the Center City municipal building on JFK Boulevard after 1 p.m., Philadelphia Deputy Fire Chief James Renninger said.

The historic building was evacuated and all city court operations were closed for the rest of the day, the official Philadelphia Courts Twitter feed said.

Fire alarms in the building could be heard going off in the darkened building as people were urged to use staircases to evacuate, according to social media posts.

A City Hall staffer told NBC10 that workers were told that there was a fire in the basement. The Philadelphia Fire Department responded to the alarm but found no fire, fire dispatchers said.

City Hall workers were sent out into the rain and home for the day as PECO crews worked to get the lights back on.

No injuries were reported and no one was stuck in elevators, Renninger said. Power to the building was later restored Monday afternoon.

City Hall was completed in 1901, 30 years after construction began, and has nearly 700 rooms, making it the largest municipal building in North America and possibly the world, the City said. The building with a statue of William Penn on top houses all three branches of City government, including civil courts, the mayor's office and City Council.

Though court operations at City Hall were closed for the day, family, criminal and traffic courts, which are housed in other buildings, continued as scheduled.

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