Broken Pipe Floods Carthage Business
Friday the 13th was not a lucky day for Archie and Judi Kelly.
Workers at their DAK office furniture store in downtown Carthage found a showroom full of water when they came to work Friday morning, with water gushing out the front door when they opened it. A pipe had broken sometime after closing Thursday, and the water ran all night.
“We didn’t discover it until Friday morning about a quarter to 8,” Archie Kelly said Monday during reclamation work. “We had about three inches over the whole floor. It came from the men’s restroom, and it was more back there. It was actually going out our front door when we came to open up. It got into part of the warehouse, but not all of it; and we are grateful for that.”
The large structure is probably 100 feet or more, front to back, he said. It is the former Carthage Farm Supply building. DAK was growing, and needed to expand from its former midtown location.
Last week, the place was packed with desks, chairs, filing cabinets and many other items, mostly office furniture but not limited to that. The newest items were in the hardest hit area.
Kelly said he’s pretty sure the damages are covered by insurance.
“Penn National is our insurance carrier, and they will work with us,” he said. “Hopefully we will be back up and running soon. It’s the first time we’ve had a catastrophe like this.”
DAK is closed in the meantime while a company from Star — Servpro — works to pull as much moisture out as possible. Work began with pumping out the water, then special industrial dehumidifiers were brought in. Powerful fans spaced around the edge of the showroom’s sodden carpet pushed and pulled moisture into the air so the other systems could remove it.
The power load on Monday proved too much, and a transformer outside at the top of a power pole exploded, sending oil in a blazing ball of fire that set landscaping ablaze between DAK and Advance Auto next door.
Carthage Fire Chief Brian Tyner arrived with a crew in a fire engine, but one of the DAK workers — himself a volunteer fireman — had already doused the flames with a bucket of water.
By luck, a customer from the Star company had been in to buy a filing cabinet just weeks earlier.
“You know, Servpro came in and bought some furniture from us and left a card — said if we ever ran into a problem they’d be glad to help us,” Kelly said. “They’ve done a real good job for us so far, and we hope to get the place back open and be better than ever. It definitely was a catastrophe. The only thing that could have been worse would have been a fire.”
He’ll have to replace all the carpeting because he can’t take a chance on mold growing in it, and all the ceiling tiles will have to go as well. Humidity from the standing water spiked overnight, and overhead tiles in the dropped ceiling sagged from the accumulated moisture.
“We had some electrical problems from the water, too,” Kelly said. “Ronnie Frye, our electrician, has been here for that.”
Kelly, who was a Moore County commissioner for seven years in the 1990s, moved the stock to storage trailers out back.
“It’s not ‘new’ anymore,” Kelly said. “We’ll have to call it salvage type merchandise. We wouldn’t want to just trash it, because it’s not that bad.”
Kelly expects to work out an agreement with his insurance company. A big sale could be in the works once DAK is able to reopen.
In the meantime, Servpro crew chief Ron Chandler was supervising the cleanup.
“I came by here two weeks ago to buy a filing cabinet,” he said. “When I came back Friday, there was water running out the front door — so you never know.”
Chandler’s is a highly technical job involving psychometry — the use of devices that measure the interaction of moisture, air and building materials. The data obtained helps his crews manipulate the environment in such a way as to encourage affected areas to yield retained moisture quickly.
“There is a science to removing moisture,” he said. “We can tell how many grains per pound we are taking out.”
Judi Kelly said they weren’t sure how long DAK would have to stay closed. She and Archie Kelly want to get back open as soon as they can, but only after everything is dry and there is no risk of mold or mildew.
Contact John Chappell at (910) 783-5841 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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