BOSTON (CBS/AP) — A minor fire in the federal courthouse in Boston has foiled the latest attempt to plead guilty by a man whom authorities say was a leading member of New York’s Colombo crime family.

Ralph DeLeo’s third attempt to plead guilty to running a drug ring was postponed Thursday when the transformer fire forced an evacuation of the courthouse.

DeLeo had spent about 30 minutes answering a judge’s questions when the lights went out briefly before a generator kicked in.

According to the Boston Fire Department, an electrical transformer caught fire in the basement of the courthouse. The fire was confined to one room.

Authorities evacuated the courthouse and DeLeo’s lawyer said the hearing would have to be rescheduled.

A court official said the fire had filled the courthouse lobby with smoke. There were no reports of injuries.

The courthouse was expected to remain closed on Friday.

Prosecutors say DeLeo led a group that sold cocaine and marijuana in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, Florida and Arkansas.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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