(Indianapolis, IN). – All Disciples Center employees hope to be back in their offices on Monday, April 11, following four days when many people worked from home or alternate sites. Normal work schedules were disrupted early on Tuesday morning, when a small fire broke out in an interior smokestack.
Lingering smoke prevented many employees from working in the building for the remainder of the week.
Despite the disruptions, only one injury was reported and overall operations for the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) continued. A security guard suffered smoke inhalation on Tuesday morning and was treated and released from a local hospital.
Smoke was noticed on the upper floors of the 12-story building on Tuesday by two Global Ministries staff around 6:15 a.m. Security was notified and fire trucks arrived to investigate.
Because the fire started before most staff had arrived, employees were notified to work from home on Tuesday. The building was re-opened on Wednesday at 10 a.m., but smoke residue resulted in nearly all offices closing within hours.
“We have experienced some inconveniences, but we are thankful that there was only one minor injury,” said General Minister and President Sharon Watkins. “Our overall operations have continued, our computer systems are intact and no records were lost.”
Watkins noted the facility has been undergoing upgrades to its heating and air conditioning systems in recent weeks. It is believed the fire was caused by smoldering insulation, probably on the 8th floor, where a welder had been working in an encased interior smokestack.
The city’s fire department was called to the building twice on Monday night after reports of a small fire in the insulation, but had given the all clear signal until Tuesday’s incident.
The Disciples Center houses many of the offices of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). About 180 staff at the Center are involved in administrative and mission-related work on behalf of the Church.
Other tenants include State of Indiana staff and several athletic associations. Between 500-600 employees work in the building, which is owned by Perennial Washington, LLC.
By Wanda Bryant Wills