The headquarters of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in Washington, D.C., will remain closed for the rest of the week, the Washington Post reported Wednesday. The Commerce Department, which was closed on Monday, reopened on Tuesday joining most of the federal government’s offices, which were open, according to the Washington Post.
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The basement and the subbasement of the IRS were flooded, damaging the building’s air-conditioning and electrical systems.
“We have not had a situation like this in 20 years,” Terry Lemons, chief spokesman for the IRS told the Washington Post from his home in Northern Virginia. “The building sustained significant damage in the basement. Before we can open, we need to have our electrical system and air conditioning working.”
Lemons added that he did not know how many of the building’s 2,400 employees were working.
“We’re continuing our tax administration work,” he told the Washington Post. “The tax system continues to operate.”
Among the government buildings flooded, according to the Times Herald-Record (New York), were the National Archives and the Justice Department. The Washington Post reports that four government offices, including the Old Post Office building and the Ariel Rios Federal Building, remained closed. In addition large sections of roads were closed and thousands forced to evacuate as waters in lakes, streams and rivers continued to rise in states across the East.
WRC-TV reports that District Mayor Anthony Williams has declared a state of public emergency prompted by the threat of power outages and the threat of more flooding. Declaring a public state of emergency is a first step toward seeking federal emergency disaster aid, if such aid becomes necessary.