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In response to Andrew Williams’ letter (The Mail, 9/6), all federal buildings are self-insured. When they are damaged in any way, money must be appropriated for the repair or replacement. The General Services Agency is the central repository for most federal building costs; however, some facilities, like the Treasury Building, are owned by their respective agencies. Treasury owns several buildings: the Bureau of Engraving and Printing facilities, Mint facilities, some IRS facilities, and the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, to name just a few. We keep some money in our accounts for general repair costs. The Treasury fire required us to shuffle funds from other accounts to cover. We have only limited contingencies for such emergencies. To conclude, federal buildings are insured by American taxpayers.

I also read the article with great interest (“Burn, Baby, Burn,” 8/30). Although the focus of the article was not on the Treasury fire per se, I think it should be pointed out that, despite the slow response, all Treasury employees were evacuated without injury or incident. This was a complex fire, located between the roof and the ceiling, and was difficult to fight. I believe the firefighters did a commendable job getting the blaze under control and keeping the damage to an absolute minimum. Considering all of the inefficiencies of the D.C. Fire Department makes their effort seem even more heroic.

Budget Analyst

Department of the Treasury

Silver Spring, Md.

via the Internet