Fire dampens jobs-report day at Department of Labor headquarters

The Department of Labor headquarters on May 3. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP-Getty).
The Department of Labor headquarters on May 3. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP-Getty)

A fire early Friday at the Department of Labor headquarters in Washington prevented workers from entering the building as the agency was due to release its latest jobs report.

No injuries were reported, and members of the news media were allowed into the facility for the release of the employment numbers.

The fire occurred sometime between 3 and 4 a.m. in a cubicle on the north side of the building’s fourth floor, according to Labor Department spokesman Carl Fillichio. Fire-suppression sprinklers doused the flames before they caused much damage, but water affected the fourth, third and plaza levels of the headquarters, Fillichio said.

Employees who showed up for work Friday morning were turned away, but the building reopened about 12:30 p.m, according to the Labor Department. Workers had the option of taking administrative leave for the day, the agency said.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics, which compiles the jobs reports, is housed separately from the Labor Department headquarters and was not affected by the fire.

Fillichio said he did not know what caused the blaze.

The Labor Department will update employees on its operating status on Sunday with e-mail alerts and through the department’s web sit, according to Fillichio.

For more federal news, visit The Federal Eye, The Fed Page and Post Politics. To connect with Josh Hicks, follow his Twitter feed, subscribe to his Facebook page or e-mail josh.hicks@washpost.comE-mail with news tips and other suggestions.

Josh Hicks covers the federal government and anchors the Federal Eye blog. He reported for newspapers in the Detroit and Seattle suburbs before joining the Post as a contributor to Glenn Kessler’s Fact Checker blog in 2011.
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Josh Hicks · May 3, 2013