Ailing Construction Worker Airlifted Off Capitol Grounds; Hart, Senate Evacuated in Unrelated Matter

Posted March 25, 2003 at 11:25am

A construction worker was airlifted off the West Front of the Capitol at 10:20 a.m. Tuesday after suffering what is believed to have been a heart attack.

“He had stopped breathing so they prioritized it and transported him via [U.S.] Park Police helicopter,” said Capitol Police spokeswoman Jessica Gissubel.

The police would not release the man’s name.

Almost an hour later, at 11:07 a.m., the Senate’s Hart and Dirksen buildings were evacuated after a decrease in the water pressure triggered a fire alarm in Dirksen. The fire marshal subsequently reset the alarm and cleared the buildings for re-entry at approximately 11:55 a.m., said Kim Bolinger, a Capitol Police spokeswoman.

At 12:25 p.m., an audible alarm sounded in Hart, leading to another evacuation of both buildings. The buildings were again cleared for re-entry around 1 p.m. According to a statement distributed by the Architect of the Capitol and the Capitol Police, the problem is associated with fluctuating water pressure in both buildings and is being remedied.

In a related issue, fumes were reported in the Capitol this morning, a result of exhaust from the helicopter entering the air intakes of the building. According to the statement, the air was sampled and determined to contain no harmful substances.

“They reversed the airflow and the fumes dissipated,” said Bolinger.

Additionally, fire alarm strobe lights on the fourth floor of the Capitol were triggered. The AOC is in the process of fixing the electrical malfunction.