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Fox 4 building evacuated due to smoke, possible fire

Employees smelled burning during late night thunderstorm
Studio evacuated following electrical fire
Posted at 11:51 PM, Sep 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-17 00:17:30-04

CAPE CORAL — WFTX staff were evacuated from the building during Wednesday's 10pm newscast after an electrical surge, followed by smoke in the station's control room.

Anchors Jane Monreal and Patrick Nolan had just started the second half hour of the program as thunderstorms were rolling through the area. A power surge caused a brief disruption in the station's signal, which could be seen by viewers who were tuning in at the time.

Moments later, director Christian Tackett reported smelling, then seeing smoke in the control room lighting area.

The order to evacuate was immediately given, and Fox 4 went dark for a few minutes before alternate programming could be run in place of the newscast.

Our control room grid shortly after evacuation and alternate programming had taken over.

Meanwhile, the handful of staff in the building rushed outside to wait for Cape Coral firefighters to complete their inspection.

Patrick updated viewers online via a Facebook Live video stream, explaining what happened and providing commentary as first responders carried out their examination.

There was a lot of lightning in the area at the time but it's not clear if that was a factor. No one was injured.

Station management and engineers are working to determine if we'll be able to resume newscasts from the main studio or if operations will move to a secondary studio. Regardless of location, news programming will continue with Fox 4 Morning News on Thursday.

Meanwhile, the staff of WFTX would like to graciously thank our community's first responders for their assistance in keeping us safe.