We had a flood at our office in Chicago the other day. Holy cow, you should have seen the mess, and this wasn’t a proper flood, this was just from leaky plumbing. I can only imagine the damage a flash flood or a river bursting it’s banks can do because that I’ve never seen first hand.
The problem started in the upstairs bathroom. A join on the cold mains water pipe failed near to the hand basin. You could see where it had just popped open. Maybe it had been dripping already but nobody remembers seeing any problem before – if I didn’t know better I would have said someone had literally stood on the pipe to break the joint (except you just can’t get to it like that even if you deliberately wanted to). That’s the funny thing about plumbing and pipes – most of us hate seeing the pipes so we do crazy things like hiding them in the floor and walls. That’s all well and good while they work, but you can’t see when they start to leak, and you have to rip open floors or walls to repair anything. Crazy!
Anyway, so I arrived at work to find the place in chaos already – I’m glad I wasn’t the one who opened the door whilst wondering what all this water was doing all over the pavement when it hadn’t been raining. The first step inside went squelch and it got worse from there. The electrics had long since tripped, and they got the water shut off pretty quickly – but it had been pouring into the floorboards all night long, and at some point of course the ceiling below gave up and collapsed in. The water was still dripping heavily from above by mid-day!
Dave, the boss, sent everyone home (literally nothing worked anyway!), and got straight on to a couple of floor repair companies from this place, and specifically here for our area http://www.theundergrowth.net/chicago/. Everything is shot – computers are wrecked, carpets ruined, furniture destroyed. Then there’s the stuff you can’t see. The ceiling collapse is pretty obvious but what about the floorboards upstairs, and the flooring downstairs not to mention anything seriously structural. I guess all the electrical wiring will need replacing too. I’m not sure how the insurance works for all this but the water damage repair guys that turned up later we’re pretty cool about the whole thing – they’ve seen far worse, and said everything will get replaced. I can’t even imagine what the restoration cost will be. Meanwhile we’re looking for a temporary base of operations (Dave’s garage!?) while things get dried out.
I’ll let you know how the flood cleanup goes, but I expect it will be weeks before we even safely get back in to the building. You don’t even want to start reading about the dangers of flood water to your health – it’s got me checking my pipes at home I don’t mind telling you.