Discarded cigarettes may have sparked a small fire that evacuated the Carlyle Care Center this morning.
Residents of the seven-story building were evacuated to the Central United Methodist Church at 518 W. Third Ave. while firefighters investigated the source of light smoke seen and smelled inside the building shortly before 11 a.m.
Firefighters using an ax chipped away a piece of the century-old building’s cement foundation at the corner of Post and Second, apparently revealing the source of light smoke detected inside the basement. The corner is next to a popular smoking area for Carlyle residents. A small space in a cast iron building column is large enough for cigarettes to drop through, said Deputy Fire Chief Dave Leavenworth.
Firefighters also used thermal imaging equipment in the basement to try to locate the source of the smoke, Leavenworth said.
Fire hoses were laid as a precaution in case fire erupted. Creating a path for one of the larger hoses required closure of Second Avenue, firefighters said. Second is closed from Wall to Lincoln streets, and Post Street is closed from Second to Third avenues. Those closures are likely to remain in effect for another hour, firefighters said about 11:20 a.m.
Medics are on hand at the Methodist church as a precaution, to tend to the needs of those evacuated, Leavenworth said.
The Carlyle provides housing to people with mental disabilities through the public mental health system.