United Press International's workers were forced to evacuate its headquarters at 14th and I streets NW after the cave-in that stopped at the edge of the building's foundation.

"UPI has always operated on the edge, and now we're on the edge of this big hole," said Washington bureau chief Berl Schwartz. "That seems to be our specialty.

"Some of us are operating out of the Senate Press Gallery," he said. "Some of us are in the States News Service bureau. Our editing desk is in Vienna, Va. You name it, we're there."

While authorities say the UPI building is structurally sound, staff members may not get back in for about a week, and telephone service may not be restored until the end of the month.

The wire service, which barely averted bankruptcy last week when employees voted to accept a 35 percent pay cut, shut down for about an hour after the cave-in but quickly bounced back.

Many reporters are filing their stories on laptop computers brought in from New York.

Other news organizations are pitching in.

Reuter is transmitting UPI's photographs, while National Public Radio is handling its audio feeds. Some radio staff members drove to New York to produce reports from there.

After handing off the national report to the Los Angeles bureau Monday night, much of the staff moved to a Tysons Corner building owned by Infotech, UPI's corporate parent. The wire service's main computer is there.

About a dozen employees found their cars stranded in the UPI garage, which now overlooks the brink of a sheer cliff.