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Sprinkler Woes Deeper than Thought


published: 5/19/00

A second sprinkler system malfunctioned at the Washington Pavilion earlier this year, damaging a wall and ceiling on the fourth floor, according to the construction company cleaning up the mess.

In a much-publicized accident, sprinklers inadvertently opened up on March 20, unleashing a cascade of water over the stage and orchestra pit. But in a separate incident, a similar deluge soaked an area on the north side of the Pavilion above the lobby that same day, said Gil Haugan, owner of the construction company doing the work.

"They're two, independent systems," Haugan said Thursday. "They went off in two separated instances that day, about an hour apart from each other."

The sprinklers went off after electricians reset heat detectors to a more sensitive level.

On Thursday, a crew from Haugan's company stood on a plywood false floor erected over the stairway on the south side of the Pavilion, between the third and fourth floors. Caution banners roped off the stairway from the lobby on up.

The crew scrubbed down walls and painted around four water-sprinkler heads mounted in the ceiling.

Corresponding sprinklers mounted in the ceiling stairway on the opposite side of the hall did not malfunction.

"Basically, it's Haugan cleaning up the mess around the sprinkler heads," Project Manager Bob Winkels said in a voice-mail message. "That's all dust and dirt, and that's what's going on now."

Winkels was out of town Wednesday and Thursday and could not be reached for further comment.

A pump system moved most of the water from the stage and orchestra pit but Winkels and Pavilion officials are waiting to see if floorboards will need refinishing.

Pavilion Marketing Director Christen Rennich said workers also have cleaned up additional, minor water damage from roof leaks and other sources.

"We just wanted to get everything fixed at once," she said Wednesday.

Reach reporter Jennifer Sanderson at 575-3629 or


-- (, May 19, 2000

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