Parts of US Capitol closed after asbestos accident - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Parts of US Capitol closed after asbestos accident

Posted: Updated:
  • NationalMore>>

  • War College to investigate plagiarism allegations

    War College to investigate plagiarism allegations

    Thursday, July 24 2014 9:25 PM EDT2014-07-25 01:25:19 GMT
    Sen. John Walsh said his unattributed use of others' work in his master's thesis was not plagiarism but "a few citations that were unintentionally left out of a term paper" that he blamed in part on...More >>
    Sen. John Walsh remained steadfast Thursday amid an investigation into whether he plagiarized a research project required for a master's degree, winning fresh backing from fellow Democrats in Montana and the governor...More >>
  • Man says he shot burglar who said she was pregnant

    Man says he shot burglar who said she was pregnant

    Thursday, July 24 2014 9:24 PM EDT2014-07-25 01:24:58 GMT
    An 80-year-old man says he shot and killed a fleeing woman whom he had caught burglarizing his home, despite her plea that she was pregnant.More >>
    Police said Thursday they're deciding whether to arrest an 80-year-old man who shot a fleeing, unarmed burglar despite her telling him she was pregnant, but they have arrested the woman's accomplice on suspicion of...More >>
  • As inmate died, lawyers debated if he was in pain

    As inmate died, lawyers debated if he was in pain

    Thursday, July 24 2014 9:06 PM EDT2014-07-25 01:06:04 GMT
    A condemned murderer took nearly two hours to die and gasped for about 90 minutes during an execution in Arizona that quickly rekindled the national debate on capital punishment in the U.S.More >>
    The nearly two-hour execution of a convicted murderer prompted a series of phone calls involving the governor's office, the prison director, lawyers and judges as the inmate gasped for more than 90 minutes.More >>
By ALAN FRAM
Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) - An accident involving asbestos work forced a temporary closure of the House side of the Capitol on Thursday and prompted House leaders to delay the day's session for two hours.

No injuries were reported. The incident occurred around 2:30 a.m. or 3 a.m., Capitol Police said.

A handful of workers were removing insulation containing asbestos from around pipes and valves on the building's fourth floor, above a staircase, said a congressional official who was not authorized to discuss the matter by name and spoke on condition of anonymity.

On-site samples and another sample analyzed by an outside lab revealed low enough asbestos levels that officials decided the building was safe to reopen, the official said. Those samples revealed levels similar to what is found in typical buildings in Washington, said the official, who did not provide any figures.

By midmorning, most of the building had reopened and Capitol tours on the House side had resumed. The Senate, at the other end of the 751-foot-long building, seemed unaffected by the incident.

The East Grand Staircase, which runs from the first floor to the third floor inside the House side of the building, was blocked off and more than a dozen workers and officials spent much of the day examining the area. Also closed was the Thomas P. O'Neill Jr. Room, a third-floor room near that staircase that was named for the late speaker and Massachusetts Democrat.

The House began the day's session at noon instead of 10 a.m. because of "an industrial accident," according to a statement from House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio. Even so, by midmorning a handful of tourists was sitting in the visitors' gallery, observing an otherwise empty chamber.

The Senate began its session as scheduled at 10 a.m.

The office of the architect of the Capitol said in a statement that engineers and certified industrial hygienists had decided the building was safe to reopen and that the staircase would remain closed indefinitely.

Construction of the main, center section of the Capitol began in 1793 and was finished in 1826.

As the country grew and more lawmakers joined Congress, a south wing for the current House chamber and a north wing for the Senate were built. Both were completed in 1868, along with a new, larger dome.

The architect's office has been repairing decaying plaster throughout the building. It has also started preparations for a project to repair the 8.9 million pound, cast iron dome.

___

Associated Press writer Donna Cassata contributed to this report.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Powered by WorldNow