MIAMI – A sprinkler issue is believed to have caused water damage that forced the indefinite closure of the Miami Passport Agency, its director said Tuesday.
Director Ryan Dooley said damage to the Omni Center building, which houses the agency, is still being assessed.
Cleanup crews were still drying out the floors Tuesday morning.
One man who tried to pick up his passport told Local 10 News reporter Terrell Forney that he paid extra money to have his passport application expedited because of a trip to Italy that is just days away.
"To have the level of damage that we have in our office, to the point where I can't even go into the office just to help find that gentlemen's passport, or to move somebody's application. It's pretty bad," Dooley said.
Dooley said he hopes to be able to provide a temporary site for travelers with immediate passport needs, but he said Atlanta and San Juan are the nearest places at the moment.
U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Florida, asked Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to open a temporary passport office in the Miami area.
"I urge you to make every effort to minimize the inconvenience, including issuing clear guidance to affected travelers and opening a temporary location in Miami for emergency passport services as soon as possible," Nelson wrote Tuesday in a letter to Tillerson.
Dooley said he is "confident" that the thousands of passport applications in the office are safe and that no sensitive documents were destroyed.
Anyone who is scheduled to pick up a passport or who is in need of expedited passport services is asked to call the National Passport Information Center at 877-487-2778 or 888-874-7793 for assistance.