Fire damage estimated at $1.5 million

DOVER — The estimated cost of damage to Legislative Hall from an Oct. 7 fire is estimated at $1.5 million, officials said Wednesday.

“This cost includes such things as: a thorough cleaning of all smoke and fire damaged areas; cleaning and replacement of attic duct work; reconstruction of office space damaged by the fire; construction management and associated engineering costs; refinishing of furniture damaged by the water; cost associated with the artwork cleaning; computer cleaning and replacement; and wiring and cable replacement,” Office of Management and Budget spokeswoman Jess Eisenbrey said in an email.

The basement of Legislative Hall still has a blocked off corner due to fire damage on Oct. 7. (Delaware State News/Dave Chambers)

The basement of Legislative Hall still has a blocked off corner due to fire damage on Oct. 7. (Delaware State News/Dave Chambers)

Ms. Eisenbrey said the state is self-insured.

The fire occurred the afternoon of Oct. 7 when an exhaust pipe running from a basement generator to the attic ignited flammable material in the attic. The fire, and subsequent water damage, resulted in significant cleanup efforts in the north wing. About a dozen firetrucks responded to the incident, putting the flames out within two hours.

All personnel inside Legislative Hall were evacuated, and the capitol was closed for several days. It remains inaccessible by the public and is set to re-open for everyone on Nov. 6.

Several offices for state representatives and House staffers were damaged, and 11 historic paintings were removed to undergo special restoration work, needed as a result of smoke and water damage.

The cleanup company Servpro spent several weeks on scene trying to remove the smell of smoke, which hung heavy in the building in the hours after the fire. Servpro also worked to remove water from the carpets and walls.

Repairs are expected to be completed by the time the legislative session resumes on Jan. 12.

Staff writer Matt Bittle can be reached at 741-8250 or Follow @MatthewCBittle on Twitter.

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