WATERVILLE — A broken water pipe Saturday morning caused significant damage to books, computers and furniture inside the Waterville Public Library.
Capt. Shawn Esler, of the Waterville Fire Department, said the call reporting flooding at the library at 73 Elm St. came in directly to the fire station around 9:20 a.m. Saturday. The library was supposed to open at 10 a.m. It did not open Saturday.
Esler said a three-quarter-inch copper water pipe burst and left 2 inches of water on the floor and damaged the ceilings in at least two rooms on the ground floor.
“There was a significant amount of damage,” Esler said. “The biggest expense is electronic devices such as computers and photocopiers; ceiling tiles, wall coverings.”
He said he could not put a dollar estimate on the damage and didn’t know how long the water had been leaking into the rooms before it was discovered.
“I know that it did freeze, because there was a substantial amount of ice in the ceiling,” Esler said.
A woman who answered the phone Saturday morning at the library said any questions concerning the amount of damage should be directed to Director Sarah Sugden. Sugden, who became the library’s director in 2005, could not be reached Saturday for comment on the extent of the damage.
Esler said a crew of about a dozen firefighters went to the library and used water vacuums and specialized pumps to get the water out of the two rooms. They also cleaned furniture and emptied out water from electronic devices that had been hit with water coming through the ceiling.
“We had to move a lot of books, a lot of furniture. Some literature has been destroyed. We spent all morning basically cleaning up with water vacs, moving stuff around and restoring order,” he said. “Our guys went over there; they did a great job. We have the equipment to do this.
“It hit home because this is a city building, city-owned property, and our job as a fire department is to preserve property, as well as life. Water damage can be as significant, dollarwise, as a fire. We take a lot of pride making sure that our city-owned building and the historical value of the library is preserved.”
Library officials said on the library’s website that they hope to reopen Monday.
Doug Harlow — 612-2367