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ServiceMaster Restoration by Wills Case Studies: Emergency Response: Water Damage Clean Up in School


On Monday July 20, 2015 at 8:30 am we received a call regarding a flood has just been Damaged auditoriumdiscovered at a school in the Bronx, NY. The call was received by Dean Jackson, Senior Operations Manager of our office in Stamford, CT. He immediately went to the school, arriving at 9:20 am to meet with the Principal to survey the damage.

The source of the water damage was a broken water supply pipe for a sink in a bathroom, located on the third floor. It appeared from the amount of damage, the water had been running all weekend. Water traveled throughout the third floor in two bathrooms, 8 classrooms and a large hallway. On the second floor there was damage to the balcony of the auditorium, a large class room and the stairwell. The balcony was used by the school as a storage area and was loaded with school supplies, uniforms and school furniture. On the main level there was damage to the auditorium, a large maintenance room and the religious education offices. In the basement there was damage to the entire cafeteria, the kitchen and the pre-school classroom.

Part of the school were built in the 1920’s and an addition was added in the early 1960’s. The entire school’s walls and ceilings were built with plaster on wire lath. In some areas it had brick with 2 inch plaster over it. There was a poured concrete sub-floor on every level. Most areas had hardwood flooring, some areas had vinyl tile. This solid, very well built school produced drying challenges.


A crew was immediately dispatched to perform emergency water damage services. Arriving by 11:30 am that morning, the team extracted water from all four levels of the school. They moved and protected the contents in each area to prevent additional damage, installed drying equipment and treated all the affected areas with EPA approved anti-mildew treatment.

On day two, additional drying equipment was installed and the packing of contents continued. The demolition of unsalvageable building materials such as hardwood floor and wet ceiling tiles began. Additionally, the team cleaned the floors in all affected areas.

In the following days demolition continued, including the removal of wet plaster. A lift was required in the auditorium due to its 24 foot high ceilings. Holes were cut in the ceiling so that dehumidified air could be ducted into the void to facilitate drying. The ceiling consisted of plaster on wire lath and above that was a concrete sub-floor. The hard wood floor in the auditorium had to be removed, which was a large task, taking 8 men three-ten hour days to complete.

The effectiveness of the drying process was monitored daily, by checking the moisture levels of content and monitoring the drying equipment. Adjustments were made as needed. Paint was scraped from the plaster to increase evaporation in a lot of the affected areas. In order to save the wood floor in classrooms, drying mats were installed to dry the floor quickly. All debris was removed from the school, all contents were cleaned and sanitized in addition to the entire affected structure. When the moisture levels reached drying standard, equipment was removed and we turned the school over to the school’s contractor on Tuesday August 4th, 2015.