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Friday, 19 July, 2002, 16:19 GMT 17:19 UK
Bells bother Baltic crowds
Tha Baltic
Staff are working to rectify the alarm problem
Tyneside's new 46m Baltic arts centre is being plagued by faulty fire alarms.

The prestigious arts complex on the banks of the River Tyne has been forced to close for a time and evacuate hundreds of people because of the technical hitch.

Several hundred people were ushered out of the former flour mill on Wednesday when alarm bells signaled a fire alert.

A spokesman for the Baltic said the alarm was triggered by overheating in the kitchens.


The Baltic has a highly complicated fire safety system

Tyne and Wear Fire Brigade

Similar false alarms hit the centre at its press briefing on 11 July and a preview showing the day after.

It is feared alarm systems have been programmed to be too sensitive and staff are working overtime to rectify the problem.

The spokeswoman admitted: "Unfortunately we did have to evacuate the Baltic.

"We have had several fire alerts but there have not been any fires.

"The building is very safe, we have a very complicated fire protection system and we are experiencing a few unexpected difficulties."

Heat detectors

A spokesman for Tyne and Wear Fire Brigade said: "The Baltic has a highly complicated fire safety system.

"We are now trying to correct the settings on the heat detectors to precisely the right level."

More than 20,000 people visited the centre during its first four days alone.

The contemporary arts centre features a Meccano model of the Tyne Bridge and interactive gongs, which the public are invited to hit.


Click here to go to Tyne
See also:

15 Jul 02 | England
11 Jul 02 | England
11 Jul 02 | Arts
11 Jul 02 | England
17 May 02 | UK
25 Jan 02 | England
12 Oct 01 | Arts
03 Apr 01 | Arts
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