PITTSBURGH—Attendees of the ACS Rubber Division's International Elastomer Conference safely evacuated the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh shortly before 1 p.m. Oct. 7 after a small fire was reported in the building.
At about 12:50 p.m Eastern Time—roughly 10 minutes before the expo was set to conclude—fire alarms were activated and a recorded announcement repeatedly asked guests to leave the building due to a "fire emergency."
Within 20 minutes, the Pittsburgh Bureau of Fire, which had sent multiple trucks and crews to the location, had cleared the building, giving conference-goers approval to return, a Rubber Division spokeswoman said.
"Our safety protocols kicked in," the spokeswoman said. "Our goal was to evacuate safely and get (everyone) out of the building as quickly as possible."
Members of the Rubber Division staff and security at the convention center led attendees safely to the exits and out of the building.
In addition to exhibitors and conference attendees, the Rubber Division was hosting students from Pittsburgh-area high schools, offering them a glimpse of the rubber industry and the possible careers that could be built within it. Those students were on the premises when the fire started, and they also were evacuated from the building safely and quickly with help from Lakisha Miller-Barclay, Rubber Division executive director and CEO, and Heather Maimone, Rubber Division membership and outreach director.
"Heather and Lakisha were with the high school students, so they ensured that they got out safely as well," the spokeswoman said.
As of press time, the cause of the fire and its location within the conference center was unknown.