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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Pipe Burst Floods Senate Offices

Tuesday morning, the Republican from Pasadena stood in the midst of his furniture and belongings, all of it covered with plastic. The baseboards had been removed, and portable air handlers were drying the room to prevent mold.

Simonaire said he was setting up a temporary office in the conference room off Room 410 in the Miller Senate Office Building.

Out in the hallway, the carpet still felt squishy.

"Each session has something unique, but we weren't expecting this," Simonaire said. "I have three bills up for a hearing tomorrow, and we are still trying to get ready."

The flooding proved to be bipartisan.

Sen. Jim Rosapepe, a Democrat from College Park, had to move out of his third-floor office.

He is moving into a conference room in the James Building until his office can be restored.

"The fact is, my office is my Blackberry right now," Rosapepe said. "This is really a good example of how technology has provided a backup system."

Sam Cook, head of the Department of General Services' Annapolis office, said the iron pipe that burst was part of the James Building's sprinkler system. The pipe is normally dry, he said, but charges instantly when the pump activates.

Evidently, some kind of pressure leak caused the system to activate, he said.

Cook said he had no way of knowing how much water spilled into the building, and it is too early to tell how much the repairs will cost. Carpets and ceiling tiles suffered the most damage. Most of the damaged materials are easily replaced, he said.

Repairs could be finished by the end of the week.

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