State Crime Lab Floods, Authorities Reviewing Whether Evidence Was Damaged (Updated)

Originally posted @ 6:00pm Monday night

Staff at the state crime lab headquarters in SoDo are reviewing whether any evidence was damaged in a small flood at the facility earlier today.

According to Washington State Crime Lab Director Jim Tarver, a fire sprinkler pipe “malfunctioned” around 2:00 p.m. at the lab, located on Airport Way S and S Walker.

The malfunctioning sprinkler covered a second floor evidence storage area in several inches of water before it was shut off.

Tarver did not provide details about what sort of evidence may have been damaged in the incident.

Tarver says no equipment was damaged by the flooding.

The Washington State Crime Lab reviews and tests evidence from law enforcement agencies statewide including SPD.

Update: The Washington State Patrol (which runs the crime lab) just sent out a release about the flooding, noting that some evidence stored in the building “may not be suitable for examination.”

A malfunctioning fire sprinkler forced the evacuation of the Washington State Patrol’s Seattle Crime Lab facility yesterday around 2 p.m.  Seattle Fire Department responded shortly after the alarm sounded and were able to shut the sprinkler system down and stop the flooding.

The leak occurred in a freezer used to store evidence.  The evidence was moved to other locations within the lab that were unaffected and allowed to dry. 

“We do not know the extent of the damage from the leak,” said Jim Tarver, Seattle Crime Laboratory Manager.  “We are still trying to assess what happened and what we need to do to get the lab back on track.  At this time, we do not know the extent of damage to the evidence that was in the vault.  However, it is likely that some evidence has been damaged and may not be suitable for examination.  After we know more, we will contact agencies whose evidence has been impacted and discuss options.”

The investigation into the malfunction of the sprinkler system will be conducted by the Washington State Fire Marshal’s Office.