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Odor Prompts Brief Evacuation of American Magazine Conference

Organizers Blame Flash Fire at a Nearby Construction Site

By Published on .

The American Magazine Conference was interrupted briefly on Wednesday after an odd smell filled the conference hall in New York, prompting organizers to ask everyone to leave the building in the middle of a session.

The conference hall during the evacuation. Everyone's back now.
The conference hall during the evacuation. Everyone's back now. Credit: Michael Sebastian

The evacuation didn't last long, called off while some people were still lined up at the stairwells to exit, but a 30-minute break followed while windows were thrown open to air out the space.

A flash fire at a nearby construction site had created the odor, organizers said.

The conference restarted with Mary Berner, president and CEO of the Magazine Publishers Association, joking that Conde Nast President Bob Sauerberg "would do anything to avoid being on a panel."

Mr. Sauerberg is slated to join the leaders of Hearst Magazines, Meredith Corporation, Rodale and Time Inc., for the conference's closing session Wednesday. Speakers and events so far have included Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, Alec Baldwin in conversation with New Yorker Editor David Remnick, and a panel on the subject of native advertising.

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