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LOCKPORT – The telephone systems in Niagara County’s central government buildings in Lockport were restored at about 1 p.m. after being out of service for about three hours today. The outage followed an electrical malfunction that triggered a fire alarm at the County Courthouse this morning.

County Buildings and Grounds Director Robin DeVoe said the smoke smell in the Courthouse resulted from a ventilation motor malfunctioning when it attempted to restart after a brief power outage.

The building was evacuated shortly after 10 a.m. for about 15 minutes,

Lockport Fire Department Capt. Thomas E. Lupo said a New York State Electric & Gas Corp. crew, working on a utility pole on Park Avenue near the Courthouse, triggered a brownout in the building.

The partial power failure was followed a few minutes later by a smell of smoke and a fire alarm. Both Lupo and DeVoe said there was no actual fire in the rooftop ventilation unit.

The phone outage appears to affect not only the Courthouse, but all other county offices in Lockport, including those at outlying buildings except for the Sheriff’s Office at the County Jail.

email: tprohaska@buffnews.com