Parking Garage Tragedy Claims the Lives of Four Cars
Not only are bridges across the nation crumbling, but now our government buildings are collapsing in the middle of the day. The courtyard of Columbia Plaza leads to the State Department's SA-1 building, and yesterday afternoon its outdoor ceiling collapsed onto panicked drivers below. No one was hurt, but several cars were damaged and the ground floor entrance will be closed for the remainder of the week. First Lady Laura Bush immediately showed up on the scene to calm the victims and join the survivors in a moment of silent prayer for the lost cars. President Bush is expected to tour the site this weekend, and in a press conference today he express deep concern about the tragedy, immediately attacked congressional Democrats for not providing enough plaza ceiling oversight, and then announced his intention to veto any parking garage roof tax increases. Full State Dept. notification after the jump!
Office of Origin: A/OPR/FMS
Announcement Number: 2007_08_039
Date of Announcement: August 9, 2007
Partial Collapse of Outdoor Ceiling at Columbia Plaza Closes SA-1 Ground Level Entrance; Some Parking Affected
Late Wednesday afternoon, a portion of the decorative ceiling on the underside of the outdoor overhang in the "lower plaza" area of the Columbia Plaza complex fell down, damaging several cars parked underneath. No individuals were injured and no areas of SA-1 were damaged. The D.C. Metropolitan Police and Fire Department responded and cordoned off the area until structural inspectors could evaluate the hazards.
The entire lower plaza area has been secured while repairs are in progress. Department employees consequently cannot use the 2nd floor (ground level) entrance into SA-1 and must enter instead through the 3rd floor entrance on the plaza level. It is expected that the lower plaza area will be closed through the remainder of the week.
Parking in the SA-1 lot is unaffected, so DOS parking pass holders may park there as usual.
Vehicle access to the pick-up and drop-off area of the Diplotots childcare center also is unaffected.
The daily PMI commercial parking garage at ground level was closed Thursday morning but has now reopened.
However, the adjacent PMI commercial underground parking garage used by employees with FARA-issued parking passes will remain closed until repairs have been completed, which will take at least one week.
The Office of Authentications and the Diplomatic Security Badging Office on the plaza level are unaffected.