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HHS Building Evacuated After Minor Explosion

By Ed O'Keefe

Health and Human Services headquarters in Washington, D.C. (Getty)

By Theola Labbé-DeBose and Ed O'Keefe

A "small explosion" shook the Department of Health and Human Services building Thursday morning after a transformer malfunction, and authorities evacuated the building as a precaution.

D.C. Fire and EMS spokesman Pete Piringer said the transformer exploded at about 9:45 a.m. in what he described as the building's penthouse electrical room. There was no smoke or fire, Piringer said, but the equipment was tied to the building's air-conditioning system, and fire officials recommended emptying the building.

"As a precaution, we have cleared the building of about 300 occupants, and right now we continue to evaluate the building's electrical system," Piringer said. Representatives from the General Services Administration and Pepco are also at the scene, Piringer said.

Health and Human Services spokeswoman Jenny Backus said the agency was cooperating with the safety orders from D.C. fire officials.

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By Ed O'Keefe  | August 20, 2009; 11:53 AM ET
Categories:  Agencies and Departments  
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