The elevator lobby on City Hall’s lower level had that familiar musty aroma of a wet basement Thursday, as the building re-opened a day-and-half after a broken pipe damaged electrical equipment Tuesday evening.
Cold weather was the culprit in the rupture of a two-inch sprinkler pipe inside the lower-level ceiling, covering the floors with a two-inch layer of water. There was little damage to the sturdy terrazzo floors in the 82-year-old WPA-era building, which were easily squeegeed.
But the broken pipe was above the main high-voltage electrical switching box, which distributes power. Officials pulled the plug until it was dry, using a hair dryer to accelerate the process.
“Water and electricity don’t mix very well,” said building manager Steve Karvelas.
With power and fire suppression systems out, City employees worked elsewhere Wednesday and part of Thursday. City Manager Troy Schulte floated between locations, taking meetings at Parks and Recreation headquarters and other buildings.
Operators for the 311 Action Center handled calls from the Water Department. City Planning and Development moved to Health Department offices at 2400 Troost, where it will remain until Friday. Walk-in customers can apply for all permits, submit planning and zoning applications and attend scheduled Express Plan Review from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., officials said.