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Smoke causes scare at CEC

By By Adam Prestridge
The Creek Entertainment Center (CEC) in Atmore was evacuated Tuesday afternoon following an electric "blow out" that injured one person and smoked up one of the facility's game rooms.
According to CEC site manager Daniel McGhee, Rowdy Boyte of Boyte's Electric suffered burns to his legs after an explosion occurred around 12:40 p.m. while he was replacing electric panels in the gaming facility's electrical room.
"Basically, the 'blow out' caused a small, centralized ball of fire that injured one of the electricians," McGhee said.
Immediately following the explosion, fire alarms sounded and all customers were evacuated into adjacent parking lots.
"It caused a lot of smoke, but no real fire," McGhee said.
The smoke was confined to Section 4 of the entertainment center, but the entire facility was vacated as a safety precaution.
"It didn't actually happen around the customers," McGhee said. "It was where the electrical panels were being updated."
McGhee said the electrical panels being replaced were outdated and it was suggested to him that they be updated. He said they are similar to fuse boxes.
At the scene, customers waited outside while rescue workers with the Poarch Volunteer Fire Department and Kelley's Ambulance tended to Boyte prior to transporting him to the hospital. Other employees and customers were given oxygen for smoke inhalation.
"The game room was completely filled with smoke," a customer who asked to remain anonymous said. "A lot of the smoke has already cleared out."
McGhee said once officials gave the OK to allow customers back into the game rooms, he would allow them to cash out their winnings, but would remain close until all safety measures have been made to ensure the safety of employees and customers.
"Anytime something like this occurs, our first concern is for the customers in the building," McGhee said. "It's a scary situation, but I believe everything was handled pretty effectively. Overall, I think the situation was handled very well."
Officers with the Poarch Police Department, CEC security staff and the Atmore Police Department also reported to the scene.
No update on Boyte's condition was available as of press time.