PropertyManagement_3501FireFlood
CASE STUDY | FLOOD & FIRE

 

 

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PROPERTY MANAGEMENT CASE STUDY | FLOOD AND FIRE AT 3501 N. CAUSEWAY BLVD.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ THE ISSUE Flood and Fire Story – 3501 N. Causeway On Sunday, April 12, 2015, devastation struck the 10-story 3501 N. Causeway Building in Metairie. A water line from an ice maker on the 6th floor failed sometime between the preceding Friday and Sunday, resulting in the release of thousands of gallons of water across much of the 6th floor, followed by the flooding of multiple suites down to the third floor. At the same time, another column of water found its way to the 6th floor electrical closet, traveling all the way to the first floor switchgear equipment, causing an arc fire and explosion. In the process, a sprinkler head went off and extinguished the fire, but caused additional damage to two first floor suites and the building snack room and an ADA restroom. THE ASSIGNMENT

To sucessfully tend to the tenants situations and the aftermath of the building (Keeping people calm, getting the power back on quickly, dealing with insurance companies, cleaning up the property)

THE SOLUTION

When the sprinkler head went off, it set off the fire alarm, notifying the SRSA management team and Jefferson Parish Fire Department. The time was 6:30 p.m. Within short order, the building engineer, three property managers and an SRSA partner were on site to meet the fire department, and within hours, SRSA had a major electrical contractor, a major disaster restoration vendor and a general contractor working in the building. By midnight, the property looked like a major construction site in progress. All tenants were notified that Sunday night of the problem, and the fact the building had no power, and would not have power for the foreseeable future. Things looked bleak.

On Monday, April 13th, tenants were allowed to come to the building to gather their belongings and to assess the situation. The building was operating under emergency generator power, meaning only one elevator was working, lighting was limited to the stairwells and exit signs, and the suites had limited emergency lighting - and no electrical outlets. There was no a/c, no phone service and no internet. Only two bathrooms in the entire building had power. Pedestrian traffic in the building was chaotic, as numerous clean-up workers hauled out hundreds of carts of wet sheetrock, carpet and other debris, while tenants used the same elevator to visit their suites. Flashlights were necessary.

On the same Monday, a desiccant system was installed from floors 1 through 6 to start drying out the building, along with high-speed blowers and dehumidifiers. Portable generators had to be brought in, as the building’s emergency generator could not power all the extra equipment needed for the clean-up effort.

SRSA worked closely with the tenants to keep them informed of efforts to restore power to the building, and in the meantime, mail was distributed in a makeshift “mail” room in the first floor elevator lobby, emergency power was run to the phone room and Tenants were routinely notified by a broadcast system of when mail and express deliveries arrived, as well as given important updates on the clean-up and recovery of the building.

By April 22nd, 10 days after the flood and fire, power was restored to the building for the first time, and tenants were notified they could return for good. The building no longer needed a “fire watch” and things started to return to normal. This was a remarkable turn-around in a very short period of time, and was the result of the diligence, focus and hard work of the SRSA staff, their vendors and the insurance adjustors.

In the months after, SRSA worked with the tenants to rebate rent for the lost work days, to assist tenants with their own insurance claims, if any, and to answer hundreds of questions on many different subjects. Further, SRSA made upgrades to the building to try and prevent a similar situation from happening again, and continues to make resiliency upgrades. Throughout the process, no tenants were lost and lease renewals continued as normal.

Photo of 3501 N. Causeway office Building