Greene County

Greene County records damaged by sprinkler malfunction

Greene Co. records damaged by sprinkler

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. - There are new problems tonight at an old Greene County tobacco warehouse-turned office building. It houses some of the county's most important documents and records, along with computers.

A sprinkler malfunction a couple of weeks ago soaked much of what was inside. An overhead sprinkler system in a Greene County warehouse gave way, causing extensive damage to stored records. It happened on a Saturday when no one was in the warehouse, but luckily a neighbor saw what was happening.

"She saw the water coming out of the building, gushing out on the upper end at the lawyer's office. What it actually was, there was a union there that busted first, and then we had all this back here over our office," maintenance director Russell Kinser said.

We found out that some of the county records that are stored in the building and suffered significant damage may only be saved by a unique method. "You'll find some records out there that we've gone through now that are going to have to go. We'll freeze dry them and restore them back the best they can," Kinser says.

But many of the rest will have to be recycled. Meanwhile there might be another problem lurking in the walls of the old warehouse. "When you've got water, the biggest thing that you look at this day and time is mold," Kinser said. "Black mold, you've got to really careful with."

So far only one computer in the maintenance office suffered damage, but the county will have them all examined just in case. "This laptop went to working after we drained the water out of it. It went to working just fine, then yesterday it crashed. So are we going to have the same problem with these," Kinser said.

As far as the offices are concerned, it may take a total rebuild to repair damage. "These old buildings such as this, a lot of times when have this type of damage you've got to tear down them completely, gut them, and if you're going to keep them go back and rebuild," he said.

We found out the county should know the total cost of damage and clean up next week.

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