Falling debris briefly closes Capitol rotunda: Padding fell outside a protective canopy

The Capitol Rotunda was briefly closed Thursday after a small piece of protective padding between some work scaffolding and the Rotunda walls fell to the floor, the office of the Architect of the Capitol said.

The Rotunda closed about 1:30 p.m. and was reopened by 3:15 p.m. The Capitol dome is in the midst of a huge restoration project, and the grand Rotunda room was closed for 19 days last month while a protective canopy was installed to catch falling debris.

The padding fell from an area outside the canopy, but no one was hit, office spokesman Justin Kieffer said in an e-mail. He said Stephen T. Ayers, the architect of the Capitol, directed contractors to more securely fasten the padding. A thorough inspection of the scaffolding and canopy was conducted, and it was found to be secure, he said.

Mike is a general assignment reporter who also covers Washington institutions and historical topics.

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