BOSTON (State House News Service) – Soldering work in a mechanical room of the State House’s west wing triggered the alarms that caused the State House to be evacuated Monday morning, Bureau of the State House Superintendent Tammy Kraus told the News Service.
The work is part of a capital energy project being undertaken by the Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance (DCAMM), according to Kraus, who deferred further questions about the project to the Executive Office of Administration and Finance.
The agency that manages state buildings is installing light and motion sensors on all HVAC units and lights in the building in an effort to prevent energy waste, according to an administration spokesperson, who asked not to be identified.
The project is in its fourth month and is projected to take five years, the spokesperson said.
Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito were among those who vacated the building just before 11 a.m. after alarms sounded throughout the State House. The evacuation delayed their planned meeting with nursing professionals about pain management in an era of opioid abuse.
After about 20 minutes, it was announced that the building was cleared for employees and visitors to reenter.
Park rangers who patrol the building’s entrances said they did not know why the alarms had sounded.T
he alarms rang out just as the House and Senate were about to launch their 11 a.m. sessions. Monday’s Senate session began just before 11:30 a.m., after the building was cleared. The House cleared the public gallery but opened its session at 11:02 a.m. Reps. Louis Kafka of Stoughton, Jay Livingstone of Boston, Paul Tucker of Salem, and Don Wong of Saugus stayed in the chamber throughout the building’s evacuation.