Updated 11:06 a.m. Wednesday: Families staying at the Children’s Inn at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda have been moved to hotel rooms after an evacuation Tuesday morning following the discovery of a structural problem with the building’s roof.
A spokesperson from the Office of Research Facilities at NIH said a conference call is scheduled for 3 p.m. today to get an update on the assessed damage of the roof at the Children’s Inn, and to gain a better understanding of when patients and families may be able to return.
Around 6:40 a.m. Tuesday, a night manager heard a noise in the inn’s bistro and found a crack in the ceiling, according to Brad Moss, communication director at the Office of Research Facilities at NIH. No one was in the bistro at the time and the area was immediately secured.
The roof did not collapse.
“There was some sagging of the roof due to some construction materials being placed on the roof,” Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service Battalion Chief Kelvin Thomas said.
The county fire department arrived at the scene along with the NIH Fire Department, officials said.
Children and families were initially relocated to the Clinical Center. There were no injuries.
Fire and NIH officials worked Tuesday afternoon to shore up the roof of the building and were in the process of determining what repairs need to be made. Moss said it was too early to provide an estimate of total damage at the facility.
About 52 patients and family members were relocated to nearby hotels, Moss said.
The Children’s Inn houses more than 1,700 children and their families from across the United States and the world every year.
The inn is a nonprofit hospitality house that provides free lodging and supportive services to families of children and young adults with rare or critical illnesses whose best and often only option is a clinical trial at NIH, according to the organization.