Water Damaged Hotel – Makes Your Heart Sink

Imagine you’re the manager of a popular hotel in “The Waterpark Capital of the World”, the Wisconsin Dells. The busy season is kicking into high gear and your hotel rooms are filling up by the minute with guests from all over the country, eager to experience gigantic waterparks and thrilling rollercoaster rides!

Suddenly, the fire alarm’s high pitched screech is piercing your ears. What now? Did a guest pull the alarm for fun, is there acutally a fire in one of the rooms, or is it something else? You begin your investigation.

Staff members are evacuating guests out of the hotel, so you and your Assistant Manager start making your way up the staircase to the top floor to check rooms. Regularly scheduled fire drills are a part of your hotel’s monthly safety checks, so this protocol is not new.

Opening the door to the third floor, you are shocked to see that the ceiling in the hallway has collapsed and water, at an extremely high pressure, is shooting out of a pipe! The weight of the water has caused the ceiling to collapse and the floor is soaked and littered with debris. Your heart sinks and panic sets in. WHAT do you do and WHOM do you call?

26d4e3_301ac44e78b14a48b3275434a6b8963cThis past June, our Project Manager at A&J Specialty Services, Inc. DKI, was called by the hotel management company to do emergency water extraction, perform demolition, set and monitor drying equipment, and manage the rebuilding of this damaged hotel.

Unfortunately for the hotel, the damage was not only to the third floor, it was worse… AS you may or may not know, water follows a path of least resistance. In this case, water had soaked through the third level floor and was flowing down to the second floor through the cutouts meant for sprinkler heads, lights, fans and vents.

Opening a door to an abandoned room, one of our technicians was able to capture the scene of water pouring, not dripping – pouring, out of the ceiling…

Our technicians invested long hours making the area safe, extracting water, cleaning debris, performing demolition, setting up and monitoring drying equipment, and coordinating with contractors to rebuild the damaged portions of the hotel. Most importantly, our technicians kept the hotel management company, insurance company, and the hotel staff fully informed about each phase of the mitigation and reconstruction process. Time is money and this hotel was losing money with every minute that guests could not book a room.

Our investigation found that the sprinkler system PVC pipe had a hairline crack in it, which allowed thousands of gallons of highly pressurized water to force its way out. Cracks form for all kinds of reasons; improper maintenance, aging and corroding materials, and the freezing winter temperatures of a Wisconsin winter are often the most common causes. Fortunately, we were able to extract the water, dry the building, and get the hotel back in full operation quickly.

Regrettably, this could happen to you. Do you have an emergency plan in place? One that goes beyond an evacuation plan or where to go if there is a tornado. You need to know WHOM to call and HOW fast they can get to you. Every minute counts when thousands of gallons of water are pouring into your building and your business is shut down.

If you don’t have an emergency response plan, email or call us today and we will get you on our FREE True North Emergency Response Plan. Prepare your hotel or building, prepare your staff, and prepare yourself – it’s an unfortunate fact of life, disasters do happen.

by Jocelyn Dornfeld

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