City police dispatch room soaked

The Marietta Police Department’s communications center had to be relocated after the dispatch office was flooded during a downpour Saturday afternoon.

Dispatcher Stephen Baumgard was on duty and got a soaking when the deluge hit. Much of Saturday’s 1,01 inch of rain fell in the afternoon downpour.

“Water was running out of the light fixture just above my head,” he said. “But we were able to salvage a majority of the equipment and moved dispatch into the former law director’s office across the hall from the mayor’s office.”

Baumgard said the leak occurred during a heavy rainstorm around 3:30 p.m. Saturday, but the dispatching equipment was quickly relocated and he was soon back online.

“We’re fully operational, although our 911 calls are being forwarded through the Washington County Sheriff’s Office for now,” Baumgard said Sunday.

Work to replace the flat roof on the north side of city hall began earlier this month, and city engineer Joe Tucker said the dispatch office damage was due to the contractor not properly sealing the roof over the weekend.

“Each night after finishing work you have to ‘dry in’ the roof as if a storm is coming, even if you’re not expecting one,” he said.

Tucker said he discussed the issue with Canton contractor Buxton Roofing on Saturday and Sunday.

“In our opinion I don’t think they sealed the roof properly,” he said. “That caused damage inside the building-mostly to police department offices on the second floor and the dispatch office on the first floor.”

City safety-service director Jonathan Hupp said the water in the dispatch area had apparently resulted from the roof leaking onto the floor of the building’s second floor hallway.

“The second floor police offices and the old jail area took on a lot of water,” he said. “There was a lot of water damage that included fallen ceiling tiles and insulation.”

Hupp added that employees with the IT, facilities, and utilities departments were called out to help with the cleanup and moving of equipment. He said fire department employees also assisted with the mop-up.

Tucker said although the dispatch office equipment is being temporarily moved to the former law director’s office area at the front of the city hall building, there were 14 computer servers located in the dispatch office and only two or three had been brought back on line by Sunday.

He said offices at the front of the city hall building, including the mayor’s office, had no water damage, and the roof over areas of the building that did take on water has now been sealed.

“We’re completely dried in now and should not have any more problems if it storms again,” Tucker said. “But it’s pretty clear the contractor is responsible to take care of any damages. We’re assessing that now. We also have to work out whether storm water may have infiltrated beneath some of the new roofing insulation. If so, the area may have to be re-roofed again.”

He said the good news is that the building is now sealed and most of the water inside the building has been cleaned up.

Re-roofing of the building was placed on a fast-track due to deterioration of the existing roof that is approximately 20 years old and due to concerns that stormwater could leak into the building’s interior walls.

The $216,000 roofing project is the first stage of a total city hall renovation that is expected to cost an additional $1 million or more.