Burst sprinkler pipe in Gary senior building displaces some residents
BY Teresa Auch Schultz firstname.lastname@example.org February 5, 2013 10:51AM
Rosetta Maxwell works as electric fans work to dry carpeting and baseboards in her office at the Gary Housing Authority Tuesday Feb. 5, 2013. A pipe burst Saturday that soaked apartments and offices in the Gary building. Maxwell works as manager of procurement and contracts with the GHA. | Andy Lavalley~Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 7, 2013 6:31AM
The Gary Housing Authority’s main office was in disarray Tuesday morning, with a majority of the ceiling tiles missing, baseboards ripped off the wall and office furniture stacked on top of desks.
The damage was even worse for some of the residents at GHA’s senior citizen housing complex at 578 Broadway. A sprinkler system pipe in the southeast corner of the eighth floor burst Saturday morning, sending water pouring into residents’ apartments and all the way down to the first floor.
Delvert Cole, interim executive director for GHA, said residents of eight or nine apartments had to be moved to other empty apartments inside the building. A total of 25 apartments suffered damage.
Cole said that AmeriClean came out to the building on Saturday but crews had to wait for the water to finish draining down before they could start vacuuming it up and airing out the rooms. The crews positioned dozens of large fans to assist the drying process.
Cole said crews had to take the baseboards off the walls to make sure no moisture remained that could allow mold to grow. The initial clean up is expected to last until Thursday or Friday.
There was so much water that the ceiling tiles in the water couldn’t hold the weight.
“The water, it gets so overwhelming, (the tiles) swell up and just give,” he said.
Cole said GHA was still waiting on an insurance adjuster to set a price for all the damage but he estimated the agency would likely have to replace some walls and part of the electrical system.
He said he believes some residents lost personal property to the water but added that everyone is required to have renter’s insurance.
Cole didn’t know what caused the pipe to break but said the cold weather and age of the building, which predates Gary’s current building codes, likely were factors.