Downtown building reopens

Fuel spill cleaned up, heat turned back on

Posted: Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Employees at the Goldbelt building, including those with the Alaska Permanent Fund Corp. and the Alaska Department of Education, are back in their offices after a small but troublesome fuel spill April 5.

Heating oil had seeped into the ventilation system, forcing the evacuation of the building and removal of contaminated material.

By Thursday, the fuel was largely cleaned up, but it wasn't until Monday that the air in the building had been fully flushed and the heat turned back on.

Laura Achee of the Permanent Fund said most employees, with the exception of bond traders, were either working from home or putting in short stints in the unheated building late in the week.

Some Department of Education and Early Development employees worked at the Alaska State Library, said Eric Fry, spokesman for the department.

The state library is part of the department, but other employees used space across Eighth Street at the University of Alaska Southeast's Bill Ray Center as well.

"Some employees were out in the field anyway, visiting districts or attending conferences," Fry said. "Some of us came into the Goldbelt building for a couple of hours at a time on several days last week."

Fuel from a rooftop furnace spilled into ventilation ducts, delaying the reopening for several days longer than had been expected, said Tracey Ricker, property manager with PTP Management Inc. The building itself is owned by the Permanent Fund.

"There was more material that had to be removed; it's the nature of these things," she said.

Ricker said air sampling will continue through the week, but so far tests have shown only negligible amounts of fumes.

• Contact Reporter Pat Forgey at 586-4816 or

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