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Posted at 12:10 PM ET, 08/24/2011

Capitol complex reopens one day after earthquake; no structural damage found


(SAUL LOEB - AFP/GETTY IMAGES)
The Capitol complex was open for business Wednesday, one day after an earthquake shook Washington and forced congressional staffers and other workers onto the streets for several hours.

The Capitol, congressional office buildings, garages and the Library of Congress were reopened one-by-one Tuesday evening following inspections by the U.S. Capitol Police and structural engineers for the Architect of the Capitol. No structural damage was found, according to Eva Malecki, communications officer for the Architect of the Capitol.

”Our teams moved quickly to assess and inspect our buildings yesterday and determined that they are all safe to occupy,” Malecki said. “We found only cosmetic issues, some cracks in the plaster, some chipped paint. We did many of the repairs and the cleanup last evening and it’s business as usual today.”

No injuries were reported, according to U.S. Capitol Police spokeswoman Sgt. Kimberly Schneider.

Congressional staffers, tourists and others lined the streets around the Capitol for hours Tuesday afternoon as engineers inspected the buildings in the wake of the earthquake. Most members of Congress were away from Washington for the August recess, although Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) returned to the District to preside over a previously-scheduled “pro forma” Senate session, during which no legislative business was conducted.

The 22-second-long session was conducted offsite in a basement conference room near Union Station after the quake forced the Capitol to shut down.

While the Capitol was up and running on Wednesday, that wasn’t the case for all buildings in the District. The Post’s Ed O’Keefe is keeping tabs on the operating status of other federal buildings post-quake.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), who represents the district where the earthquake’s epicenter was located, plans to tour several sites Wednesday with Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) to survey the damage.

Cantor and McDonnell will visit three sites: the town of Mineral, Va.; Louisa County High School; and the Mineral Volunteer Fire Department, where the two will hold a joint news conference at 1:35 p.m.

Later in the afternoon, Cantor will visit Dominion’s North Anna Power Station and the Culpeper Police Department.

Cantor was traveling in Israel on Tuesday and flew back to the U.S. after receiving news of the quake.

This story has been updated.

By  |  12:10 PM ET, 08/24/2011

 
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