Last Update at 9:20 p.m
An electrical fire sent more than 2,000 people scrambling out of the New York State office building in Hauppauge on Friday afternoon.
Hauppauge Fire Chief Raymond Germaine said a 911 call came in at 4:19 p.m. Friday reporting a fire in the Perry B. Duryea building off Veterans Highway in Hauppauge. Multiple fire departments responded to the scene.
State office employees reported hearing an explosive-like sound from the basement of the building before fire alarms went off, and they were forced to evacuate.
Germaine said an electrical vault in the building's basement sparked, setting fire to two nearby transformers. There was heavy black smoke throughout the building by the time firefighters got to the scene.
Hundreds of firefighters helped evacuate than 2,000 residents, state employees and elected officials from the state offices, according Germaine, as multiple fires companies members swept rooms one-by-one to make sure all were safetly out of the building.
When the crowd later grew unruly, Suffolk County police were called to the scene.
"We had some people trying to get back into the building, so we had to do some crowd control," Germaine said.
Firefighters managed to fight their way in to power down, or "kill," both transformers. By that time, heavy smoke had risen to the fourth floor of the building, which stands six-stories tall.
One firefighter had to transported via ambulance to St. Catherine of Sienna for injuries whose exact cause was unknown, Germaine said.
National Grid and LIPA were at the state building by 7 p.m. to access the extent of the damage. Units were still on the scene as of 8 p.m.
Fire departments on the scene included Bohemia, Brentwood, Central Islip, Commack, Dix Hills, East Brentwood, Farmingville, Hauppauge, Islip Terrace, Kings Park, Nesconset, Ronkonkoma, Smithtown and St. James with all efforts on the scene coordinated by Hauppauge Chief Raymond Germaine. Central Islip-Hauppauge Volunteer Ambulance was on standby.
Traffic on Veterans Highway was unaffected by the fire, which did not result in any road closures.
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