Smoke forces 350 people to evacuate Pink Palace Museum - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Smoke forces 350 people to evacuate Pink Palace Museum

(Photo Source: WMC Action News 5) (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5)

The Pink Palace Museum had to evacuate 350 people and shut its doors Wednesday after a fire sparked in a construction area inside the museum.

At about 11:00 a.m., everyone inside was evacuated because of smoke in the building.

A group from Macon Road Baptist School was among the 350 people evacuated.

"We were going through all the exhibits looking around, and then the alarm went off and the lights just started flashing and everything," said David Bock, a grandparent visiting the museum.

Bock says they just started grabbing kids and heading for the door. Eventually they made their way to picnic tables outside.

"As we walked out to the lobby, we saw smoke and we smelled it pretty heavy. The smoke was pretty thick," said Bock.

Fire crews say the fire started in the Pink Palace's planetarium.

"The planetarium was being renovated, and the workers were using a welding torch, and it ignited with some of the insulation," said Wayne Cook, with the Memphis Fire Department.

No other areas in the museum were damaged.

The people we spoke to say the worst part of the day was not getting a chance to shop in the gift shop before having to leave.

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