Heard on the Hill

Water Damage Affects Senate Offices in the Russell Building

Fire in oldest Senate office building leads to water woes in GOP offices

Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., clears her office of water damaged belongings on December 10, 2018, after sprinklers engaged to extinguish a fire that occurred in Russell Building on Saturday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Nebraska Sen. Deb Fischer and Ohio Sen. Rob Portman had office damage to deal with Monday on their side of the top floor of the Russell Senate Office Building in the wake of a fire Saturday night

Portman’s front office was closed, and there was no immediate estimate for when repairs could be made. Other parts of the Portman office, where much of the staff works, was not affected. Fischer herself was spotted doing some packing and clearing belongings from her water-damaged office Monday morning.

UNITED STATES - DECEMBER 10: Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., clears her office of water damaged belongings on December 10, 2018, after sprinklers engaged to extinguish a fire that occurred in Russell Building on Saturday. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

D.C. Fire personnel found electrical motors in the Russell attic that had burned up and activated the sprinkler system, according to Vito Maggiolo, Public Information Officer for D.C. Fire. The PIO said the sprinkler system  extinguished the small fire, which was completely confined to the attic area of the building.

DC Fire personnel worked with Capitol Police to ventilate smoke from the building before leaving the scene around 10 p.m. The evacuation of the Russell Building, by Capitol Police was completed  by about 10:30 p.m. Saturday, and most of the building has now reopened.

Katherine Tully-McManus contributed to this report. 

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