Patrick Richardson of Polygon cleans up damage at the Heather-downs branch of the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library. Water covered much of the floor after the cold caused a pipe to burst.
THE BLADE/JEREMY WADSWORTH
Hints of a big thaw Wednesday after two days of subzero temperatures are being blamed for a broken water pipe that flooded a South Toledo library branch.
It was one of many weather-related water problems in area buildings.
A water supply line for the sprinkler system at the Heatherdowns Branch of the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library burst above the ceiling, sending gallons and gallons of water onto the carpet and books, CDs, and other materials.
Charlie Oswanski, superintendent of facilities and operations for the library system, said a joint in the 1½-inch steel pipe ruptured about 8 a.m. Wednesday when water-flow sensors in the building’s security system activated.
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He said library staff was inside the building to shut off the water within 45 minutes of the rupture.
“I am just grateful that the alarm went off and we got it contained,” he said.
Within two hours of the break, Polygon, the library’s document restoration expert, arrived to stabilize the items in the collection that sustained water damage.
Mr. Oswanski said the 18,000-square-foot branch has about 120,000 items and that 4,000 to 5,000 items in the collection, mostly books and book audio CDs, were affected. In addition, about 75 percent of the floor was covered with water.
He said water-soaked books and items that can be salvaged will be freeze-dried and taken to Polygon’s facility in Illinois to be dried.
“The freeze-dried process is the most advantageous way to get to perfect restoration,” he said. “Some will be weeded, and some will be restored.”
Workers spent most of the day using commercial carpet cleaning equipment to remove water from the soaked carpet tiles.
Irene Martin, a preservationist at the library system, was called to the branch to help in the cleanup.
She said the damage in the library’s collection ranged from paperback books soaked in water to hardbacks whose covers could be wiped.
“We are trying to pick out things. Not every book is wet on the shelf,” she said.
The branch and other libraries in the system were closed on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday because of the countywide snow emergency.
While all branches are scheduled to reopen today, the Heatherdowns branch will remain closed. Mr. Oswanski said the Heatherdowns library could reopen as soon as Saturday.
Elsewhere, classes at the Toledo campus of Mercy College of Ohio have been canceled until Monday because of flooding caused by a water-main break also related to the cold weather. Employees are being asked to report to campus today and Friday. Students should monitor their email for more information, the college said.
In Perrysburg Township, a pipe froze and exploded sometime Wednesday morning at the Perrysburg Heights Community Center, spraying water that covered the basketball court. Water also flooded a small plumbing compartment between walls next to the gym.
A waterline break in the sprinkler system on the lower level of Rossford High School played a small role in classes being canceled today.
Staff members concentrated on cleaning up after the break instead of being able to concentrate on snow removal efforts around the school, said Superintendent Dan Creps.
Bowling Green State University repaired a pipe and cleaned up water damage after a pipe break on the south side of West Hall.
The pipe broke around 4 p.m. Tuesday and caused water damage to areas on the second floor of the hall, the first floor, and the basement.
The university’s student-run television studio is located on the first floor.
BGSU students are on break until Jan. 13.
Contact Mark Reiter at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6199.