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Smudging ceremony sends firefighters to courthouse (2 photos)

The courthouse was evacuated

Smoke from 'smudging' set off a fire alarm in the basement of the Sault Ste. Marie Courthouse this morning.

Smudging is an Indigenous practice of burning sage, cedar, tobacco, or sweet grass for prayer or cleansing.

Sault Ste. Marie firefighters responded to a fire alarm call at 9:32 a.m. this morning. By the time they arrived, the courthouse had been evacuated.

Platoon Chief Stan Martynuck said the reason for the alarm was smoke from smudging in the basement, although the substance burned was not identified.

The building was ventilated and in under 30 minutes people started re-entering the courthouse.

Martynuck said there were no injuries.