Answering my own questions since 2001

Flood!

Yesterday, I’m settling down to watch the Ottawa Senators paste the Leafs (they didn’t, but Toronto’s out of the playoffs anywho) and the fire alarm goes off. Living in a big apartment building, I’ve gotten pretty blasé about fire alarms. They happen once a month, the fire department shows up, and inevitably there’s no fire. I tend to stay in my suite and look for smoke. I figure they’ll make an announcement if it’s a real fire.

It was worrying, then, when my neighbour pounded on my door about 30 seconds later. He had somehow broken off a sprinkler head in his apartment, and water was spraying everywhere, pouring down his walls. He asked me to call the building manager.

I did, but first I created a little towel dam at the front door. By the time I got off the phone, the water had saturated my dam, and was pouring under my front door, having run from his apartment to ours via the hallway. The water was black, black like Japanese horror movie black, from the gnarly old hallway carpet. Soon the water was leaking in through our bathroom, which abutted my neighbour’s apartment, as well. Thinking of insurance claims, I snapped a few quick photos.

I became the Sorcerer’s Apprentice in Fantasia, clearing out stuff that could get wet and assembling a series of towel dams to delay the flow. I was getting ready to seriously start bailing (there was probably an inch of water in the entranceway) when the fire department showed up. They complemented me on my dams, and fired up a water-sucking machine.

They sucked up most of the water, and I mopped up the rest. Happily, none of our property got wet (aside from the scummy towels, which are a small sacrifice), so it’s only structural damage, which our and the building’s insurance will certainly cover. It could have been much worse, particularly if we’d been away for the weekend. I think that’s the fate of my other neighbour.

11 Responses to “Flood!”

  1. Patty - UBC

    Woah, that’s terrible. Someone had a leak above me once and it rained in the kitchen. Did the apartments below you get water as well? I liked the Jhorror Dark Water reference, he he………..

  2. Andrea

    My (old) apartment flooded once. Water even came out through the electrical sockets. It was awful.

    You may have had all the visible water sucked up, but consider having your insurance company look into it. Moisture may be trapped in your drywall, hardwood/laminate, tiles, baseboards and the like. This can lead to mildew and mould and other unpleasant things. You would not see this happen for some time, so better to get something on record now.

  3. Anonymous

    Hopefully they removed your drywall a few inches off the floor. This stops the moisture from wicking up the walls, as well it gets air inside the walls to dry out what moisture there is.
    The black is also from inside the sprinkler pipes. The water has been sitting in the pipes for years and then all of a sudden the system gers flushed out.

  4. Anonymous

    Hopefully they removed your drywall a few inches off the floor. This stops the moisture from wicking up the walls, as well it gets air inside the walls to dry out what moisture there is.
    The black is also from inside the sprinkler pipes. The water has been sitting in the pipes for years and then all of a sudden the system gets flushed out.

  5. Andrea

    That’s exactly what I was getting at.

  6. Darren

    Yeah, they’re going to remove our baseboards, drill some holes in the base of our walls, and put some fans up against them to dry out the interior of the walls.

  7. Andrea

    Find out if your baseboards are real wood. MDF swells.

  8. The Third Flood in Four Days

    [...] moved over 300 litres of water from my clever collection system (yes, it featured another towel dam) in the dining room to the back patio. I counted the [...]

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