Water Intrusion In Major Department Store


Project Type: Water Intrusion
Building Type: Big Box Retailer
Contact: ALL-PRO
Date of Loss: July 22, 2014

Late in the afternoon of a record-setting cold day in Westchester County, NY, a water pipe to the fire suppression system broke at a major department store. The break came in the mechanical room that is housed near the front of the store. Water spewed from this main supply pipe into the mechanical room and flooded more than 45 percent of the store, damaging merchandise and furnishings. The store was opened at the time and had to quickly be evacuated for the safety of customers and employees. Valuable recovery time was lost, because no one knew where to locate the main shut-off valve. The fire department was called in and shut off the water. Fortunately, no one was injured in the ordeal.

ALL PRO DKI and their emergency water damage restoration team were on the job that very evening. The store requested that the cleanup be scheduled and cordoned off in such a way as to allow the store to safely open for business by 10 a.m. the next day. ALL PRO met the challenge.

At the start of water damage cleanup, an estimated 30,000 square feet of the store sustained water damage, some areas with two inches of standing water. The broken main was directly above a set of electric panels that shut down automatically. However, this took out the source of power needed to dry the store. ALL PRO had an electrician install three 100 amp temporary electrical panels then ran thousands of feet of cord to the areas of the store where power was needed. Additionally, the technician ensured that the cords were securely taped down before opening the next morning for the safety of store personnel and shoppers.

Damaged merchandise, store furnishings and wall mounts were removed from the sales floor as the extraction work continued. One 20-man crew worked through the night, using over 100 pieces of equipment, to get the store dry and safe enough to be opened in the morning. Wet base boards, plywood and sheet rock were cut out, bagged, and removed from the store over the course of the next few days.

Compounding the high volume of water over a large area was “black staining,” which was caused by the water in the sprinkler system. Many believe that this black staining might actually be caused by a bacterium that builds up in the water system over time. It may also be caused by the combination of normal corrosion and concentrations of minerals and bacteria. For ALL PRO, the cleanup of the store included the remediation of the black stains that remained after drying.

By 10 a.m. the next morning, the store was open for business. Only small areas of the store were taped off as drying and remediation work continued. ALL PRO DKI was able to meet the store’s goal of remaining open while completing the last of the water damage restoration and cleanup work.