Water-damaged Phoenix library to stay closed until June
Aug. 18, 2017
PHOENIX (AP) — Phoenix's main public library won't reopen until next June, nearly a year after it was heavily damaged by water from a corroded fire-sprinkler pipe that burst during a July monsoon storm, the city's top administrator said Friday.
City Manager Ed Zuercher also disclosed that inspection reports from recent years warned of pipe corrosion in Burton Barr Central Library's fire-suppression system but that those reports weren't shown to top officials or acted upon.
An investigation is underway to determine why that wasn't done and disciplinary action may result, Zuercher said.
"I'm angry that our library customers have lost the use of this building," said Zuercher, calling the library "the heart of the community."
Repairs will include replacing the roof, the fire sprinkler system and other parts of the building and are estimated to cost $6 million to $8 million, an expense that will be covered by reserves and insurance payouts, Zuercher said.
The library has been closed since the July 15 storm damaged the 25-year-old building's roof above the fifth-floor fire suppression system.
The corroded pipe was the primary cause for the water damage, but the cause of the corrosion isn't yet known, Zuercher said.
The city manager said fire-suppression system normally doesn't have water in it, but it was filled automatically when the roof tiles lifted by storm winds fell back down and dislodged dust and debris that the system's sensors took for smoke.
With Burton Barr closed, the city has moved library staff to the system's 15 branches while expanding hours in branches nearest to downtown and moving books and other materials from the main library to branches.
Library officials previously said the flooding damaged approximately 6,000 books, a small percentage of the main library's 500,000-book collection.