'We literally had water dripping from the ceiling'

'We literally had water dripping from the ceiling'

CLATSKANIE, Ore. - Water and hot steam have ruined $250,000 worth of books inside a school's library - and the damage did not stop there.

A heating coil on a radiator broke sometime over the weekend, perhaps even Friday night, inside the library at Clatskanie Elementary School. And by the time it was discovered, the room was like a sauna and the floor was covered in water.

"It's awful," said Connie Sims, the school's librarian. "We literally had water dripping from the ceiling."

The library houses more than 10,000 books and the steam not only got into them, but in everything else (like posters, furniture, computers and globes). Water even seeped into the school cafeteria next to the library.

Restoration crews drilled holes in the walls and pumped in hot air to try and dry everything out. Every book has to be checked page by page and there is a bigger concern now - mold.

"The faster we can process this and get ahead of it, the better our chances of preventing that," said school superintendent James Sager. "When we're all done, we'll have the air quality tested just to make sure we have prevented any mold growth in this space to protect the staff and students."


Photo courtesy Clatskanie Elementary School.

At this point it's unknown when the library will be open again. In the meantime, the kids are making due with the small libraries they have in each classroom.

"We've been in contact with the local public library," said Sager. "They're going to help out as much as they can, but this is a major impact to kids who love to read."

"It's going to be some time before we know just how extensive the damage is," said Sims.

The school district is not asking for book donations because insurance may cover the damage.