Later she came on the loud speaker again and in a more excited voice told us to evacuate. She said something about "the roof" but I didn't hear exactly what, because of the noise the alarm was making.
I asked one of the staff persons putting on an orange neon vest where the fire was and she said, "I don't known, one of the upper floors".Patrons came down the elevators and streamed into the lobby. As seen in the above photo, two firemen entered the library.
Suddenly there were staff everywhere wearing orange neon vests. It was obvious that staff have emergency response training.
One staff person, a middle aged woman without an orange vest, zipped into the washrooms to make sure there was no one in them. She kept leaning on people lingering over the first floor computers to get a move on.
I wasn't paying close attention but it seemed to me that the entire library was evacuated in under five minutes. At the risk of sounding like I have Stolkholm Syndrome after being a taxpayer held hostage by library staff this summer, I will say I was impressed by the performance of library staff.
Some staff and patrons went outside and stood on the snowy steps. From the steps, billows of what looked like steam or smoke poured off the roof. People were saying it was probably just steam. One guy looked around and said that none of the other buildings had it.
At about 8:40 p.m. staff were allowed back inside the library. A few patrons were lined up in the lobby in front of the locked doors at about 8:45 p.m. when I left.