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The Season of Frozen Pipes - Part 1

It was an especially cold winter in Northern Arizona

It was an especially cold winter back in 2009-2010. That was the year that launched Sunshine Cleaning & Restoration from being a very small restoration company to where we are now.

It started the day after Thanksgiving in Payson, AZ. The night was bitterly cold and the next morning we received a call from a church that had to main line sprinkler systems burst and flood the building.

When we arrived, we had almost two feet of insulation covering the floor from multiple ceiling collapses. It took a full crew to get everything mopped up and extract all the water that day. It was a miserable cold and wet job that had to be done. It took every piece of drying equipment we owned to start the drying process and an entire week to complete the needed demo and structural drying.

I still remember vividly the next Saturday when I pulled the last few pieces of drying equipment having a feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction that we had dried the biggest job in the history of Sunshine Cleaning and Restoration.

That record for biggest job would soon be shattered as before I could even leave the church, we received a call from out answering service stating that the we had an emergency flood at a retreat center up North in Heber Overgaard, AZ. The message stated that it was two stories and 11000 square feet affected.

At first, I thought it was a joke or a typo. I called the customer and it was not a joke or a drill. It was the real thing. With a crew of only four people we drove every piece of equipment and truck we had up there to get started on the job.

When arrived onsite and were let on the property it was the most overwhelming experience in my life. A sprinkler line burst on the second floor and flooded 100 percent of this building. Which had 28 individual dorm rooms each with there own bathroom, 100s of feet of hallways and common areas. The water had run for days, it was a total disaster.

Everyone was running around like a chicken with their head cut off not know where to start. After taking some time to access the situation, I gathered the troops, and shared my own fears. We had an elephant to eat and you know there’s only one way to eat an elephant. One bite at a time.

So, we got started on the basics, extracting water and bagging up fallen insulation and drywall and we even started removing non salvageable carpet to get as much water out of there as possible. One major problem we had is we only owned 5 dehumidifiers and 36 air movers to dry a building that needed 8 times that.

I called my local supplier and they happened to be having a Grand opening at their new location and had some of the equipment I needed on sale. I bought what I thought I could afford, and he delivered and helped set the equipment up that night at about midnight. Thank you, Gabe!

We got through the first day working about 17 hours barely stabilizing the environment with no where near enough drying equipment. On four hours of sleep I drove back up to check on the job and realized I could not do this on our own.

Stay tuned for the next installment on how we got through this monster water damage job.

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