DERBY – On Friday afternoon, Katy Murray, a manager at the Indoor Recreation of Orleans County (IROC), started to go to the second floor of the complex and noticed smoke in the sports arena.
IROC staff members evacuated the building and called 911 at 3:30 p.m.
What was later described as a dust fire in the heating unit for the sports arena had caused the smoke. Staff had just turned the heating unit on in preparation for the opening of Border Hoop Basketball. The unit had not been on for several months but had worked fine when staff tested it earlier in the week, according to Phil White, executive director of IROC.
He said there were some flames in the self-contained heating unit located on the outside wall of the facility.
The arena was cleared and the Derby Line Fire Department and Fred’s Plumbing and Heating were quick to respond. Damage was minimal. Firefighters allowed staff and IROC members back in the facility early Friday evening. However, the sports arena remained closed for the rest of Friday and Saturday. Border Hoop teams played games at area gyms.
All aspects of the facility are now open for business including the arena. All soccer and volleyball games this week will be played in the Pronto Sports Center as scheduled, as will freshman basketball practice and all other activities.
Fire Chief Craig Ellam said the facility itself sustained no damage.
Repairs to the heating unit will probably take place at the beginning of the week.
Murray thought there were 40 to 50 people in the arena and a handful elsewhere in the facility.
White said he was grateful for the quick response by the fire department and Fred's. "It made all the difference," he said.