UN evacuates some levels after fire alarm

AP News
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Posted: Dec 03, 2009 11:20 AM

The United Nations briefly evacuated three basement levels after a fire alarm went off Thursday morning, forcing U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and pop star Stevie Wonder to leave a conference room.

There was no evacuation in the rest of the 39-story U.N. headquarters building and the Security Council continued a meeting uninterrupted.

People were allowed to return to conference rooms on the first basement level about 15 minutes after the alarms went off after the all-clear was given.

U.N. deputy spokeswoman Marie Okabe said the alarm was triggered by smoke from construction work in the second basement level. There was no damage or fire, she said.

Wonder was delivering a speech accepting his designation as a U.N. Messenger of Peace by the secretary-general when the alarm went off.