The Des Moines Register stinks today, but it’s not an editorial judgment. Smoke that saturated the Register’s downtown office building and forced an evacuation. V-P Austin Ryan says it started in the street-level area that once housed the printing presses. He says a worker was grinding in the basement, and produced sparks that were drawn up into the air-handling system and ignited a filter. Ryan says smoke quickly filled the whole building. Because of the way the air conditioning system for the whole place works, two large fans pulled the smoke through the filter system on floor “seven and-a-half” and the smoke was pushed through the entire building at once. The downtown skyways near the newspaper building were filled with worried-looking staff, from secretarial and classified to reporters on deadline, but Ryan shrugged off the question of how they’d get the morning paper out. He says they’ll make deadline and have a great story too. Acrid-smelling fumes seeped out into skywalks near the second-story entrance to the newspaper building, but nobody was hurt by smoke, or in the incident that set off the alarms. The sparks that set off the smoke apparently were caused by workers repairing damaged newspaper vending machines.
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