NEW YORK (AP) – City Hall was evacuated Friday night after an electrical fire broke out in the basement.

There were no visible flames, firefighters said, but light smoke spewed from the basement. No cause had been determined, and no injuries were immediately reported.

The mayor, Michael Bloomberg, and the speaker of the City Council, Christine Quinn, were not in the building.

The fire, reported about 7:40 p.m., remained under investigation.

City Hall, near the lower tip of Manhattan, is a famed landmark that has been the center of government in the nation’s largest city for nearly 200 years.

Begun in 1803 and opened in 1812, the three-story Federal-style marble edifice was the permanent replacement for two previous city halls – a waterfront tavern and a building on Wall Street, several blocks away.

It has been headquarters for 57 of Gotham’s 108 mayors, from DeWitt Clinton in his third term (1811-1815) to Bloomberg. While most departments have long since spilled over into other buildings, City Hall still houses the mayor’s office and the City Council chambers on the second floor, where Councilman James Davis was shot dead by a political rival in July 2003.

The mayor’s office and adjoining Blue Room, where the mayor meets with reporters, were recreated for the 1996 film “City hall,” starring Al Pacino as the mayor, and the television sitcom “Spin City,” starring Michael J. Fox.



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