Federal courthouse to remain closed Friday after fire

A smoky, two-alarm transformer fire in the basement forced the evacuation of the federal courthouse on the waterfront this afternoon. No one was injured, but the court was expected to remain closed on Friday, as a result, authorities said.

Firefighters responded to the Moakley Courthouse on Northern Avenue at 4:12 p.m., a fire department spokesman said in a statement.

Firefighters waited for NStar to turn off the power to the area, the spokesman said. NStar workers arrived shortly after 5 p.m.


The lights in the building flickered and then went off as emergency alarms activated. White smoke poured into the building’s lobby area from a vent. The building was evacuated, scores of people emerging into bright sunlight.

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“Something happened to the transformer and it generated a lot of smoke,” said Chief US District Judge Mark Wolf.

By around 6:30 p.m., the fire department had left the area. NStar was examining the transformer, and maintenance workers were venting the building.