False alarm at JJ — it was steam, not smoke

The program for the Iowa Democratic Party’s 2010 Jefferson Jackson Day dinner was just about to start when the emergency lights in Hy-Vee Hall started flashing and a recorded voice made an announcement:  “An emergency has been reported in the building.”

The crowd was directed to leave the building and the sirens sounded for about five minutes.  The crowd filed outside, then the all-clear sounded about 10 minutes after the “emergency” was first reported. 

“It was a false alarm,” Sam Roecker, a spokesman for the Iowa Democratic Party, told reporters when we arrived back inside Hy-Vee Hall. “Steam from a dishwasher in the kitchen was let out and it set off the sensors and we had to evacuate, but everything’s fine and we’re ready to start any minute and make up the time somewhere.”

It’s 7:30 p.m. now and the Des Moines Gay Men’s Chorus is singing the National Anthem, so the program is underway.

Iowa Democratic Party chairwoman told the crowd of more than a thousand they were helping to “dispel the myth” of an enthusiasm gap.  “There’s momentum. There’s enthusiasm…and now we’re really ready to go,” IDP chair Sue Dvorsky said.

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.