Investigators were trying Monday to determine the cause of flooding and the extent of the damage on at least three floors of the Federal Building over the weekend.
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"They think there was a coupling failure between a couple of pipes. That is what they expect right now," said Bill Lesch, the public affairs officer for the region's General Services Administration.
He said the administration staff is conducting the investigation.
"The coupling was apparently on a hot water line, and when it went off it sprayed a sprinkler," he said.
That is what set off the fire alarm, prompting Capital City Fire and Rescue to respond at 1:15 a.m. Saturday.
No damage estimate was available Monday.
Investigators were still trying to determine the extent of the damage and checking whether floors outside the fourth, fifth and sixth also had seepage.
They also were trying to figure out how much water had escaped before the break was found. Roughly four hours passed before it was discovered, Lesch said.
The three agencies primarily affected included the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Forest Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Lesch said.
Calls to those offices Monday afternoon were being answered by recording machines. Blowers and dehumidifying machines were at work, but no employees were visible.
Brittany Retherford can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.