Water Leak Damages Large Section of Illinois Capitol

February 13, 2008

A big chunk of the Illinois Capitol was damaged by a water leak shutting down the building’s main entrance and forcing some employees to relocate.

A sprinkler line on the second floor broke causing water to pour into offices on that floor, the first floor and into the basement, officials said.

Some employees of the governor and state Senate were forced to relocate. When workers repaired the leak and removed water, some of it poured outside and froze, closing the main entrance.

The leak left behind waterlogged ceiling tiles, damaged computers and soggy carpets.

“It was pretty squishy” in the state comptroller’s offices, said spokeswoman Carol Knowles.

Henry Haupt, spokesman for Secretary of State Jesse White, said officials hoped to have everything cleaned and repaired by Feb. 19, but experts were still assessing the damage to figure out what it would cost.

He said there was no indication the water had caused structural damage to the historic building. Officials will test to see whether they freed any asbestos in old tiles and insulation, Haupt said.

Haupt also noted there was no damage to the House and Senate chambers, which recently underwent extensive renovations.

For now, the governor’s employees have moved next door to the Stratton office building, said spokeswoman Rebecca Rausch. She said there had been “no hiccups” in government operations.

State Senate offices are largely empty because the Legislature is not in session until Wednesday.

The comptroller’s employees continued to work in their offices, but with industrial-sized fans and dehumidifiers drying out the area.

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