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Cannon Evacuated for Potential Asbestos Leak

Architect of the Capitol Stephen T. Ayers discusses the Cannon House Office Building renewal project. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Cannon House Office Building was evacuated Friday night for a potential asbestos leak, and the building is closed until further notice.  

House staff received an emergency alert shortly after 7:30 p.m. to evacuate Cannon for a potential asbestos leak. A spokesperson for the Architect of the Capitol confirmed the potential release of asbestos occurred during construction as part of the Cannon Renewal Project.  

"Engineers and certified industrial hygienists are evaluating the scene to determine the appropriate response to this incident," AOC spokeswoman Kristen Frederick wrote in an email to CQ Roll Call Friday night. "In an abundance of caution, the Cannon Building will be closed until further notice. The Architect of the Capitol continues to investigate and will provide updates when available."  

Frederick said the AOC will provide updates on its website . She did not respond to a question regarding whether any workers were potentially exposed to asbestos.  

Construction on the oldest House office building began last January , and is currently centered on the building's basement. The nearly $753 million project will take 10 years.  

Friday is not the first time an asbestos scare has plagued Capitol construction. In July 2014, an asbestos spill that occurred during asbestos abatement work temporarily closed the House side of the Capitol. After the ordeal, unions representing AOC workers and the Capitol Police expressed concern about workers' exposure to the human carcinogen.

Capitol Hill Employees Concerned About July 10 Asbestos Exposure House Side of U.S. Capitol Reopens After Asbestos Spill See photos, follies, HOH Hits and Misses and more at Roll Call's new video site. Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.