UPDATE: GEF 1 Building opens to public on September 2nd

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UPDATED Thursday, August 28, 2014 --- 4:35 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. --- The government building damaged by a fire in May will re-open to the public on September 2nd.

The Department of Administration said today the GEF 1 building in downtown Madison will have normal business hours for the public after Labor Day.

The building suffered an estimated $15 million in damage during a fire on May 16th. The fire was ruled accidental.

The building is headquarters for the Department of Children and Families and the Department of Workforce Development.

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UPDATED Thursday July 3, 2014

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- State officials say a fire in a Madison government building in May caused about $15 million in damage.

The Madison Fire Department initially estimated the damage at $350,000. But the state Department of Administration released a statement Thursday saying the damage estimate grew as the agency spoke with the state's insurance provider. The agency said the $15 million figure could fluctuate in coming months as repairs are completed.

The state's insurance policy requires the state to pay the first $3 million in damages.

Copyright Associated Press 2014

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UPDATED Saturday, May 24, 2014 --- 4:45 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Some workers who have been injured on the job are seeing delays in their workers' compensation payments, due to a fire that closed a major state office building earlier this month.

The Wisconsin State Journal reports the affected workers include about 50 people whose workers' comp settlements have been recently approved by a judge, but still need to be processed by the state Department of Workforce Development.

Department of Administration spokeswoman Stephanie Marquis says automated payments aren't interrupted and the vast majority of injured workers are getting checks as scheduled.

About 1,000 employees with the Department of Workforce Development and the Department of Children and Families were displaced by the fire. The state is identifying alternate work locations for them.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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UPDATED Wednesday, May 22, 2014 -- 10:15 p.m.

After a fire broke out at the GEF-1 building last week, nearly 1,000 state employees have had to find other options to continue their work.

The GEF-1 building is now closed for at least eight weeks, and in the meantime, displaced employees have been placed at other work sites or have been working from home.

According to Stephanie Marquis from the State Department of Administration, those who have hours that can't work at a different sites or from home, are being asked to take a vacation, sabbatical, comp time, or a leave without pay if they want to save for vacation, something that the employees union representatives are saying is unfair.

"We need to look at this in a fair and objective way, and not penalize people for their inability to work because of managements not being able to find places for them to work," says Tammy Dowing, president of ASCME Local 145.

Workers are not being laid off or furloughed because leaving without pay is optional. None of the services in the GEF-1 building are being interrupted and normal operations are taking place.

Yet, the union workers are still upset have now reached out to Workforce Development Secretary, Reggie Newson.

UPDATED Wednesday, May 21, 2014 --- 9:58 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A state office building housing about 1,000 state employees will be closed at least eight weeks due to damage from a fire last week.

The fire occurred overnight on May 15, resulting in closure of the building a block away from the Capitol. It houses workers for the departments of Workforce Development and Children and Families.

State Department of Administration spokeswoman Stephanie Marquis says inspections of structural and mechanical systems are ongoing, as is clean up and repairs from the fire. There is no cost estimate yet on the damage.

The Madison Fire Department says the fire was accidental and caused by an unspecified electrical fault or failure.

Online services offered by the affected state departments are operating normally.

Affected employees are working at home or from other locations.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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UPDATED Tuesday, May 20, 2014 --- 11:33 a.m.

The Madison Fire Department says the fire at the GEF 1 building has been ruled accidental in nature.

Authorities say it is the result of an unspecified electrical fault or failure.

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UPDATED Friday, May 16, 2014 --- 4:17 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- There's still no word on what caused a fire at a state office building near the Capitol.

The four-story building housing about 1,000 workers for the departments of Workforce Development and Children and Families was closed Friday after the fire department responded to an alarm around 2 a.m.

The building will be closed through Tuesday as cleanup continues.

Madison Fire Department officials say crews encountered large amounts of smoke and melting ceiling tiles on the fourth floor. The fire was extinguished by 6 a.m.

Other state offices remained open and online services offered by the two departments are not affected. State Department of Administration spokeswoman Stephanie Marquis says unemployment payments scheduled for Friday were processed as usual.

The cause is still being investigated and there were no damage estimates.

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UPDATED Friday, May 16, 2014 --- 1:24 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- There's still no word on what caused a fire at a state office building near the Capitol.

The four-story building housing the department of Workforce Development and Children and Families was closed Friday after the fire department responded to an alarm around 2 a.m.

Madison Fire Department officials say crews encountered large amounts of smoke and melting ceiling tiles on the fourth floor. The fire was extinguished by 6 a.m.

Other state offices remain open and online services offered by the two departments have not been affected. State Department of Administration spokeswoman Stephanie Marquis says unemployment payments scheduled for Friday were processed as usual.

The cause is still being investigated.

According to the Madison Fire Department, early damage estimates for the building and its contents are calculated at $350,000.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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UPDATED: Friday, May 16, 2014 --- 6:33 a.m.

DOA Division of Facilities Management is working with the City of Madison Fire Department, and the GEF1 will be closed today to Department of Workforce Development and Department of Children and Families State employees who are housed at the GEF1 building. All other State buildings remain open.

A fire was reported at the GEF1 building at 201 East Washington Avenue in Madison at this morning. The fire has been extinguished and no injuries have been reported.

The cause of the fire on the fourth floor is unknown at this time.

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Posted Friday, May 16, 2014 --- 5:25 a.m.

The Madison Fire Department is investigating after a report of a large amount of smoke in a government building.

The incident happened just after 2 a.m. Friday morning at 201 East Washington Avenue.

Firefighters searched the building for 2 hours looking for the source of the smoke. Around 4 a.m. Friday morning they located melted ceiling tiles on the fourth floor.

Investigators are not sure what caused the smoke.

Many streets around the capitol are currently block off so firefighters can continue to investigate.


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