Crews to rappel down Washington Monument today
4:20 p.m.: Work is stopping due to the weather and threat of lightning.
(AP, ABC7) - Work crews will be rappelling down the Washington Monument today checking the extent of damage from last month's earthquake.
The Washington Monument has remained closed indefinitely to visitors because of damage sustained. The National Park Service says there's no timetable for reopening the structure.
So far, about $207,000 has been spent to rehabilitate the monument and that number is expected to rise after crews examine the exterior.
In a video from inside the monument during the earthquake, Park Ranger Nicolette Williams is seen on the stairwell trying to get visitors to safety. She says she looked up and saw a metal piece of the elevator shake.
“That's when I realized something was going wrong that's when you see me jump off the ledge and I can feel the building shaking under my feet,” she said.
Structural engineers have completed a preliminary inspection of the monument's interior, where numerous cracks and chips were found after the 5.8-magnitude quake on Aug. 23.
Park Police Officer Matthew Cooney and his partner were at the base of the monument when he felt the ground shake and looked up to see the monument shaking.
“We looked up and saw the monument sway back and forth and tons of stuff coming down from the top,” he said.
Dozens of pieces of stone fell in the interior of the monument during and after the quake, and park service officials say they need to make sure the obelisk is safe before the public is allowed inside.
Williams said she got the visitors to a lower level where Cooney was. He took them to safety while she ran back up to see if there was anyone left.
The park service revealed Monday that the monument's elevator sustained minor damage during the quake.