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UAS Staff Come Together for Unexpected Weekend Clean-up

"It was just an incredible effort by UAS and touching to see.”

At 4:26 a.m. Saturday, April 25, 2009 the Auke Bay Volunteer Fire Department got an alarm from the UAS Mourant building Fireweed Room, which is undergoing a remodel. When fire fighters arrived approximately 20 minutes later, they determined a fire had ignited in a trash can and been put out by automatic sprinklers. The Glacier Valley Fire Department joined the effort. Fire personnel shut off the sprinklers. However the sprinklers discharge about 8-10 gallons of water per minute. Operations Manager Joe Mueller estimates about 300 gallons of water sprayed on the top floor of the Mourant building. The water seeped through the floor and the ceiling to the bottom floor which houses the newly remodeled Student Services center.

Mueller picks up the story:

The fire department jumped in with squeegees, covering up computers and electronic equipment in an all out effort to save as much as they could. I called Tish (Griffin-Satre) and she called staff. Then a chain of people showed up ready to work, custodial, maintenance, Bruce Gifford’s student services staff and spouses. They hauled out old ceiling tiles and pushed water out the door. Facilities crew assisted with getting power back to the building so we could feed students Monday morning. Maintenance staff got heating and ventilation back on line.

The water had the most impact on the floor carpet. Staff took all the carpet out of the building and draped it over the railings and helped haul the old ceiling tile out. The custodial crew helped clean up the mess upstairs and downstairs, extracted all the water, cleared out the cafeteria space and took out the tables and chairs.

Carol (NANA Management Services) came in and started helping clean up. Carol fixed everyone lunch. The coffee pot was going upstairs for folks. (Tish thanks Diana Gifford). The support was incredible. Phil Paramore (Student Recreation Center) and Chris Washko (Student Housing) came in. It was really impressive to see how many people rolled up their sleeves and helped out.

IT rallied their troops and took wet computers to the laptop lounge where they were dried out for a couple of days. (Editor note: All affected staff computers are back in working order, according to IT’s Joe Nell).

Roper and Sons general contractors replaced the dried carpet, and J and J carpet cleaners came in and did a steam clean. The cafeteria looks great!

The Simplex Grinell fire alarm system just installed last year did its job. The sprinkler water did about $10-15,000 dollars damage (largely to ceiling tiles), a small figure for the extent of what we were dealing with. The carpets were salvaged. We lost just one carpet tile. It was just an incredible effort by UAS and touching to see.”


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