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Malfunction causes evacuation of XTO building in Fort Worth

FORT WORTH -- An equipment malfunction in a computer server room led to the evacuation Tuesday morning of the XTO building in downtown, a company spokeswoman said in a statement.

Employees reported hearing an explosion and seeing smoke on the sixth floor of the W.T. Waggoner Building just before 11 a.m., fire officials said. However, when firefighters arrived they found no evidence of an explosion or a fire.

What likely happened, fire officials said, was that the equipment malfunction activated a waterless fire extinguishing system in the server room. The system is called an FM-200 extinguishing system, and it fills a room with chemicals and propellants designed to extinguish a fire without harming the computer equipment.

The system makes a "loud sound" when activated and the chemicals and propellants would resemble smoke, officials said.

All systems were returning to normal and employees have returned to the building, according to an XTO statement.

More than a half-dozen fire engines responded to the reported explosion and several downtown streets were temporarily blocked. XTO employees reported the company's "system shutting down" shortly before they were told to leave the building.

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