A frozen PVC pipe feeding a sprinkler system burst Tuesday morning, dumping water into the offices of 160 Stark County Department of Job and Family Service workers.
Water seeping out the sides of the Renkert building formed icicles on its brick walls before it could splash to the ground.
A frozen PVC pipe feeding a sprinkler system burst Tuesday morning, dumping water into the offices of 160 Stark County Department of Job and Family Service workers. Several inches of water gathered on the fourth floor and trickled down to the offices beneath it. It came down elevator shafts, too, soaking the carpeted floors of the elevator cars.
"It was just pouring down," said Valerie Nash, deputy director of human resources and support services for JFS. The 1915 building is located at 306 Market Ave. N.
Battalion Chief Thomas Garra called the damage "significant."
"A PVC pipe extension to a sprinkler head burst, dumping water from the fourth floor down the elevator shaft," Garra said. "We went down and shut off the sprinkler system and drained the whole system."
The staff of JFS's Children Services Division, which occupies five floors, was sent home or relocated to other buildings. The water damaged the agency's computer server, which also supports computer operations at the Child Support Enforcement Agency, a division of JFS located at 122 Cleveland Ave. NW.
The Renkert building's lobby is closed, according to an agency press release. The agency has canceled all child visitations and foster-parent training sessions until further notice.
The child abuse and neglect hotline can still be accessed at all hours by calling 330-455-KIDS (5437). People are asked to call 911 for all emergencies involving children.
Job and Family Services' Child Support Enforcement Agency's lobby will be open today and scheduled appointments will take place. Its customer service line, shut down Tuesday, is expected to resume operations. A drive-thru remains open and payments can be made if customers have their personal Support Enforcement Tracking System (SETS) number. Customers can also access the website, http://jfs.ohio.gov/ocs or call 1-888-965-2676.
Nash said it was too early to determine how long workers would be displaced from the Renkert building. The building's owner declined to comment.
Spokesman Bill Burgess said the agency is concerned about the loss of computer equipment and paper files, which date back to the '70s, as well as other items exposed to the water.
"We're going to do what we can to save everything," Burgess said.
Reach Matthew at 330-580-8527 or
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