An explosion and smoky fire Tuesday has forced the evacuation of the Iowa Lottery Headquarters building in Des Moines.
Lottery spokesperson Mary Neubauer was in the building at the time. She said they were working this morning when all of the electricity went out. At that time, people working in the basement heard some load pops and saw some sparks flying from the electrical equipment.
"We're just thankful that no-one was hurt," Neubauer said.
Neubauer said they won't get the office running again for at least another day. Electricity is out in the building and investigators don't think they can get it running again until sometime Wednesday.
Officials are still trying to determine the cost of the damage. Neubauer said the main fire damage was confined to the basement of the building in the electrical equipment room. There is smoke throughout the building, which they are still trying to clean up.
"The smell is that awful burnt electrical smell that you just get throughout the building," Neubauer explained. Employees want to set up fans throughout the building, but that has to wait until they electricity back.
The lottery headquarters moved earlier this month several blocks up the street to a new location near the governor's mansion. Contractors and workers are still working on the site doing some work in the building, so officials aren't sure of the cause of the smoke and fire.
Neubauer said there are 60 to 70 people who work in the building and everyone got out safely.
Neubauer said the fire shouldn't stop anyone from buying an electronic lottery ticket. She states that lottery employees double-checked to see that the sales were still going on.
The main computer that runs the sales is in the nearby suburb of Urbandale, so it was not affected. Neubauer said anyone who has a large prize that requires them to come to lottery headquarters will have to wait.
"Obviously that's going to be affected until we can determine the extent of the damage inside the building and actually get inside the building. We don't know how long that will be, or when that will be at this point."