In the middle of October, we suffered a bit of a catastrophe here at the Studio. Apparently someone from the building behind ours left their sprinklers on all weekend (or maybe more). The ground got saturated, and with no where else to go, it seeped through the foundation (or something) and flooded the back of our Studio. Conveniently, this is where my office/our test lab, our listening room, and our storage room all are. If any of you have experienced flooding, you know that water is an evil, evil thing. It gets everywhere, and brings with it everyone's favorite fungi: mold.
First up was to start clearing out the water. Photographers Randy Cordero, John Martorano, and Jonathan Beckerman had already rented carpet cleaners from the local Home Depot, and had started sucking up the water by the time I arrived (around 7:30). The problem was, we were bailing but still sinking. The sprinklers were still on, continuing to force water into our building. Around 8:00 the local fire department came, and assessed in about 30 seconds that they had no need to be there (not being an emergency per se). Even so, they stayed and helped with some of the water clean up, which I think says a lot about how cool firemen are.
Around this time, DWP showed up. Proving we're not as dumb as we look, it took him about 20 minutes of searching to find the buried, covered, and completely hidden sprinkler shut off. If only this meant we were in the home stretch.
By noon we had the floor mostly dry in my office and the storage room. These rooms have nasty flat grey carpet resting on the concrete, so getting the water out of it was easy. The elephant standing in the room was deceptively okay listening room. To all glances, the floor was dry. At noon, when it was still dry, we realized with a sinking feeling that this was a bad thing. In 2002 former tech editor Mike Wood and myself built the listening room from scratch. The floor is a sandwich of six layers, and if there was water under the bottom layer, it was going to sit there, fester and ferment. The floor, which took the better part of a month to build, had to be torn out.
Randy and John had to head out on a photo shoot that couldn't be rescheduled. That left Beckerman, studio lackey/freelancer John Higgins, Randy's web guru Daniel Love, and myself to tear up the floor. The carpet came up with no problem, and we had to tear out the pad. The next layer, a layer of OSB, unscrewed with no problem. Knowing how the floor was built, I didn't share that this had been the easy part. The next layer was a layer of OSB braces glued to another layer of OSB with a piece of rubber in between. Being the geniuses Mike Wood and I are, we secured them in such a way that all the pieces of OSB were more or less interconnected. I had no intention of building the floor over again, so we had to cut these strips of OSB apart so that they could be fitted back together like pieces in a puzzle. OSB has the density of just this side of lead, so this took some time. The bottom layer of OSB rests on a foam layer from Owens Corning. This was soaked, as was the bottom of the last OSB layer. Believe it or not, this was a relief. After all that had the floor been dry. . .
Coming up on 8:00 PM at this point, we had all the wet OSB standing up on end to dry out in the studio. The Owens Corning foam was rolled up loosely and stood up to dry. John and Randy had come back at this point, and were helping dry the carpets further, setting up fans, and helping us move the OSB. We stood back with a morbid sense of accomplishment, starting at the sopping wet concrete floor and the remains of the listening room. A floor I had hoped to never see again.
In the coming days, we dried out the floor, and pieced it back together like the puzzle it was. In the end, other than time, all that needed to be replaced was the carpet pad we tore out. We lost about a week, but the listening room is back to exactly how it was pre-flood. There was surprisingly little equipment damage, as almost all of it was either on shelves, or in boxes (the boxes were ruined, but they're there for protection, right?).
So now, a month later, the smell is gone and there is almost no visible signs of the flood. As almost all the damage was confined to my office, our listening room and storage room, I had to do this. No one else did. So it's with all my heart that I thank John Higgins, Jonathan Beckerman, Daniel Love, John Martorano, Randy Cordero, and Mark Peterson for their help. Without them, I'm sure I'd still be swimming.