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Philadelphia City Council Forced Out After Burst Water Pipe Drenches Chambers

By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Philadelphia City Council is temporarily moving to new digs, after an overnight flood in its City Hall chambers caused by a burst pipe.

Early this morning, security guards noticed water damage in Council chambers, on the fourth floor of City Hall, which maintenance workers traced to a burst pipe in a vacant room on the ninth floor.

"We have a full staff out here, doing assessment, doing cleanup, and then we also contracted with a professional mitigation company," said public property commissioner Bridget Collins-Greenwald today.

She says the desks of the councilmembers seem fine, but the wall-to-wall carpeting is soaked.  And, she adds, more assessment is needed:

"We don't know the extent of the damage.  We're still doing that assessment.  It doesn't seem much from just a quick look."

Much to the relief of Collins-Greenwald, the damage is clearly far less than that suffered by Council chambers back in 2002, when an air conditioner leak necessitated a year-long renovation of the ornate room.

"This isn't on that scale at all," she said today.  "This is not as big an incident as happened back then, at all."

That 2002 flood also damaged the mayor's reception room and the law library, and repairs cost upwards of $2 million.

Collins-Greenwald hopes to have the City Council chamber open in time for its regular meeting this Thursday, though that is far from definite.  A committee hearing scheduled for Wednesday in Council chambers has been moved to a sixth-floor courtroom.



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