Riverside village staff will have to make do with makeshift office arrangements for perhaps a month after a broken water pipe above the second-floor ceiling flooded the main village office inside the Riverside Township Hall on Sunday.
The problem was discovered just after noon on Dec. 11 by Township Trustee Ann Dynako Kubiczky, who had come into the building to pick up a packet for yesterday’s township Board of Trustees meeting.
She alerted Fire Chief Anthony Bednarz, who said it took about an hour to locate the source of the leak, an abandoned water pipe above the second floor ceiling on the west side of the building. Bednarz said there was a 6- to 8-inch gash in the galvanized steel pipe.
Water poured through the ceiling into the second floor kitchen and restroom on the west side of the building and then down into the first-floor village offices and into the basement.
A large hole between the second and third floors just outside the township assessor’s third-floor office marked the source of the leak.
Bednarz, who responded to the scene Sunday along with some 20 fire department personnel, said that there was about an inch of standing water in the basement and standing water in the village hall offices on the main floor of the building, which is owned by Riverside Township. The Village of Riverside leases its office space from the township.
Both village and township officials said they are unsure just how much damage the flood caused, but it was enough to destroy the village’s E-911 server, and damage some police radio communications equipment located in the basement of the 110-year-old building at 27 Riverside Road.
Bednarz said Monday that Riverside’s 911 calls were being routed to North Riverside in the interim, adding it could be “anywhere from two to five days” before conditions in the basement were good enough to install a new 911 server.
“Our Public Works [radio] band is out, the state police band is out and the fire and police main board is wet, but it works,” Bednarz said.
Monday morning, the Village of Riverside’s offices were closed. Blue tarps covered desks and work stations in the main office space and water saturated the gray carpeting throughout much of the space. The village manager’s office and finance director’s office were spared significant damage.
The worst damage was saved for the reception area, where drywall covering ductwork had melted away, the switchboard and desk ruined by water damage.
Village Manager Kathleen Rush said that by today, staffers, including those from the Building Department, would be relocated temporarily next door in Room 4, formerly the courtroom and now the site of most village board meetings.
“[Today] employees will be onsite to set up, and on Thursday we hope to be open to the public, although it might not be smooth,” Rush said.
Although the move to Room 4 is a temporary one, Rush said that staff could be relegated to the space for a month.
“That’s the best case,” added Bednarz.
On Monday, adjustors from the village’s insurance company, Traveler’s Insurance, were on the scene as were work crews, who began the process of drying out the basement, where most of the emergency system electronics are located. The village’s insurance deductible, according to Rush, was $2,500.
“Our biggest expense is the recovery aspect and electronics,” Rush said. “The business interruption is going to be a big concern. People will want to pay water bills, get building permits and things like that.”
She noted that payments can still be dropped off in the silver mail box in front of the Township Hall building.
Bednarz said that the plaster ceiling of the basement would have to be removed. He wasn’t sure what the fate would be for the plaster ceiling above the drop-ceiling of village’s main floor offices.
“It will probably have to come out,” he said.
Riverside Township’s offices, across the first floor hallway do not appear to have been damaged by the leak. On Monday, township staff was in the office at work. The second floor auditorium also appears to have escaped damage.
“I feel terrible about the village being knocked out like that,” said Township Supervisor Patricia Pavlich.
The township will likely bear the brunt of the repair bills for any structural damage. Pavlich said adjustors from the township’s insurance carrier, TOIRMA (Township Officials of Illinois Risk Management Association) would be in the building yesterday.
“We’ve never had a claim before, other than one workman’s comp claim, so this is virgin territory for us,” Pavlich said, adding she wasn’t sure what the township’s deductible was. “We’ll have no idea on damage until we talk with the adjustor.”
While the second floor kitchen and hallway near the bathroom appeared to be in serviceable condition Monday, Pavlich said that looks might be deceiving.
“We’re not done yet,” she said. “This is just the tip of the iceberg.”