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Weather Blamed For Pipe Burst That Flooded Business

Reported: Jan. 8, 2014 11:11 AM EST
Updated: Jan. 8, 2014 12:57 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Katelyn Sykes) -- Frigid temperatures were again taking their toll across the area.

A Charleston business is cleaning up after its sprinkler system in the roof burst on Tuesday, sending water through three floors. Fans were blowing and water was still falling Wednesday through the ceiling hours after a massive pipe burst at the building that houses accounting firm Arnett Foster Toothman, The West Virginia Bankers Association and Progressive Insurance on Clendenin Street.

"Water started cascading down throughout the building," said Steve Robey, presiding member of Arnett Foster Toothman. "It went through the second floor, first floor and down to our lower level."

Robey described the break as a catastrophic failure.

"There's no need in second guessing that we should have done this or that," he said. "It's out of our hands."

The damage left behind is devastating.

Joe Ellison, president and chief executive officer of the West Virginia Bankers Association, said it all started just before 5 p.m. Tuesday.

"Water came from everywhere and tiles started coming down, and we grabbed our computer server and took it out the front door and were able to save a few things," Ellison said.

The damage on his floor is also extensive. Tiles are missing from the ceiling and water is puddled on the floor.

"Well, we cried a little bit and then we realized that's not the worst thing that can happen," Ellison said.

Robey and Ellison said their staff started pitching in as the water came rushing down and carried anything valuable they could outside. They also covered desks that remained in several offices. On Wednesday, that same staff was on hand, lending a hand and cleaning up.

"We're an accounting firm, so we're going in to a very busy period of time," Robey said. "It'll be fixed. Wish it hadn't happened."

Robey and Ellison said they will remain open for business. No word on how much it will cost to get everything fixed.



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