The cold weather created a nasty surprise for workers at the Mohave County Library Kingman Branch Tuesday afternoon.
Library patrons had to be escorted out of the building after a sprinkler line failed around 3 p.m., causing a curtain of water to flow down one of the back walls of the library, bringing down ceiling tiles and soaking the carpet nearly to the front doors.
The damage to library materials appears to be minimal. No electronics or computers were damaged. However, the drywall on two walls and some chair cushions will need to be replaced and the entire library will have to be re-carpeted.
"Until then, the Mohave County Library Annex at 2153 E. Gordon Ave. will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday to the public," said Mohave County Library Director Danielle Krol. The annex will be closed Jan. 21 in honor of Martin Luther King Day.
The annex holds about 7,000 items. All items that were being held for patrons at the Kingman branch on Burbank Street will be moved to the annex along with newly released DVDs and video games.
All items that are currently checked out are not due until Jan. 28, she said. The library is also waiving all fines on materials that are currently due.
The Wi-Fi Internet connection at the Kingman branch should be restored within the next few days and will be available from the library parking lot.
"Luckily, no one was sitting back there," said Library Operations Specialist Larry Chapman.
Library staff, including Krol, and public works staff spent the next three to four hours trying to sop up the mess. They returned at 6 a.m. Wednesday to try and pull more water out of the carpeting and start meeting with contractors.
"We had more than half an inch of water throughout the whole building. It took about 40 people to get it to what you see now," said Jed Noble, an engineering manager for the Mohave County Public Works Department.
"Combined efforts of staff from the Library, Facilities, Risk Management, and Information Technology departments saved most of the library materials and equipment," said Acting County Manager Mike Hendrix.
Noble explained that a main water line to the sprinkler system had broken, allowing water to seep into the system, which is supposed to remain dry until it is triggered by a fire.
The cold weather over the last few days caused the water to freeze, and one of the ceiling pipes burst.
Whirring fans and dehumidifiers have dried the carpet to the point that it was damp and the broken line has been fixed, but patrons won't be allowed back into the building until the drywall, ceiling and carpet can be replaced.
Bids for the repairs were due at 5 p.m. Wednesday. The reconstruction work could take up to four weeks, Noble said.