A rusted pipe burst Monday afternoon in the William S. James Senate Office Building in
Thirty-five of the state's 47 senators have offices in the building, and staff members were moving equipment out of offices on the third and fourth floors Monday afternoon. The pipe burst on the west side of the fourth floor, where many Republican members have their offices.
Sam Cook, a General Services administrator, said that a 3-inch pipe connected to the building's sprinkler system rusted out and opened. The problem was discovered about 1:30 p.m. Monday. "Most of the damage was just ceiling tiles dropped and the floor is wet," Cook said. He said a restoration company was examining the site Monday evening.
The Georgian-style building, built in 1938, is the older of the two Senate office buildings. Most of it is set aside for individual senators' offices, while the hearing rooms and committee offices are in the Thomas V. Mike Miller Building.
One of the senators whose offices were severely damaged was
"We had water coming out of light fixtures," the veteran Democrat said. Kelley said she injured herself trying to move computers and other equipment out of the way. When the order came to evacuate, there wasn't time to lock up, she said.
"We had to leave everything wide open — that upset me. You feel kind of vulnerable," Kelley said.
Cook said the building was evacuated in part because the sprinkler system was not operational, but it was repaired later Monday.
"It's a busy time to be away from the phones," he said.