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Friday, May 8, 2009

Exterior wall at State House collapses

House Speaker Seth Hammett, D-Andalusia, and Clerk of the House Greg Pappas confirmed that an exterior wall at the State House collapsed during flooding in Montgomery on Thursday.
Hammett said an interior wall, which actually housed the Legislative Building Authority, also collapsed.
Pappas said a Dumpster and a car were floating around in the water behind the State House. The water flooded and destroyed the vehicles of several lawmakers who parked on the lower parking deck at the State House.
Hammett said people would assess any possible damage to the foundation of the State House and would look at the "structural soundness."
Hammett and Pappas said power will probably not be restored in the State House until about noon on Friday after water is removed from the basement. The speaker said that the last he heard there was four feet of water in the basement, which was being pumped out.
Hammett said air conditioning might not be restored until Tuesday or Wednesday. He expects the Legislature to meet in the State House and not the Capitol next week, the last week of the legislative session.
Legislative officials cut power to the State House on Thursday after water reached the height of where electricity comes into the building, which was constructed in the 1960s to house the state highway department.
Pappas said House employees would not report to the State House on Friday.
The House and Senate met in the historic chambers in the Capitol for the first time in 24 years on Thursday. Hammett was a lawmaker in 1985, but Thursday was the first time he presided over the House in the historic chamber.

-- posted by Sebastian Kitchen

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South Union Street is the blog of Montgomery Advertiser political reporters Markeshia Ricks and Sebastian Kitchen. Always check here for the latest on the Legislature, elections and other activities and players in Alabama.

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