US Capitol Buildings Sustain Visible Damage From Earthquake

Aug 24, 2011 4:21pm

ABC News’ Sunlen Miller (@sunlenmiller) Reports:  Around the U.S. Capitol complex today there is some visual damage due to Tuesday’s 5.8 magnitude earthquake.  Much of the damage is on the House of Representatives side — in the Rayburn office building committee hearing rooms located on the first floor within the complex.  The House Financial Services Committee, House Judiciary, and House Oversight Committee hearing rooms all show visible damage – long cracks in the plaster walls, paint chipping and cracks over doorways. A skinny but long crack about 25 feet long on both sides of the House Financial Services Committee hearing room seems to be among the worst. Over the doorway of the hearing room is a small crack between the doorway and wall corner.  But all in all officials on Capitol Hill describe the damage as minimal. “We came away virtually unscathed,” Eva Malecki, a spokeswoman for the Architect of the Capitol told ABC News today after assessing damages through the night and into this morning following the earthquake, “very little damage.” Malecki said that the Senate side office buildings and hearing rooms endured similar damage but overall was not too much – mostly cracks in the plaster walls, paint chipping, and a few tiles had popped out which could be easily restored.  After immediate assessments yesterday afternoon following the earthquake,  that continued today, the office of the Architect of the Capitol has been making repairs, and cleaning up to open the doors to the Capitol complex as usual today.  U.S. Capitol tours are taking place today. The longer term projects, such as the long cracks in the committee hearing rooms will be taken care of in a “timely manner,” Malecki says over the next few weeks. 

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