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Fire outside building forces evacuation of American Museum of Natural History

Firefighters leave the American Museum of Natural History

Firefighters leave the American Museum of Natural History in New York on Friday, Dec. 12, 2014. Photo Credit: AP / Richard Drew

The American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan was evacuated Friday afternoon after smoke from a fire outside drifted into the building, an FDNY spokesman said.

"There were construction workers working on the exterior, and some of the debris and other combustibles caught fire, causing smoke in the museum," the spokesman said.

There were no injuries, he said. The FDNY was called to the museum, famed for its planetarium and dinosaur collection, at 3:15 p.m.

About 60 firefighters responded to the fire at the Central Park West museum, and it was under control at 4:44 p.m., the spokesman said. He had no additional information.

Roberto Lebron, a museum spokesman, said in a statement that 3,000 to 4,000 people were evacuated in about 5 minutes due to a "smoke condition" on the first floor, in the Hall of Northwest Coast Indians.

Some of these kinds of exhibits came to life in the "Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb" movie franchise starring Robin Williams and Ben Stiller, .

"There was no fire inside the building, but two sprinklers did deploy in a contained area of the hall as a result of the smoke," Lebron said.

The museum will reopen on Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5:45 p.m., though all evening programs on Friday were canceled.


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