WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE — This week’s extremely cold temperatures caused a leak in the sprinkler system, releasing water into the Early Years Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force Wednesday.
Any change in water pressure in the sprinkler system initiates the fire alarm, and all visitors were evacuated as a safety precaution. Visitors, staff and volunteers were outside for less than 30 minutes before being permitted back into the museum.
The museum has a Disaster Response Team that is notified in the event of an incident. The team responded quickly to the water leak and was able to assess the situation, evaluate any damage and immediately begin clean-up efforts, in coordination with the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Fire Department and Civil Engineering.
The majority of the Early Years Gallery and the rest of the museum galleries are open on the normal schedule. A portion of the Early Years Gallery will remain closed until it can be safely reopened.
Wednesday’s incident follows another evacuation that took place last Friday, Jan. 3. A similar problem affected the museum lobby and entryway to the Air Force Museum Theatre. Visitors were able to return to the exhibit galleries in less than 30 minutes via different doors into the museum.
In addition, another leak was discovered Wednesday morning in the Presidential Gallery. That gallery is already closed to the public Monday through Wednesday. At this time, the gallery is expected to be open as scheduled Thursday through Sunday.
For more information about the museum, visit www.nationalmuseum.af.mil.