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When It Doesn’t Drain, It Pours At City Hall Pie Pan Left In Sink Floods Offices, Causing Damage

Let’s hope the pie was good, because it was expensive.

Someone with a sweet tooth left an empty pie tin in a sixth-floor janitor’s sink at Spokane City Hall on Friday. The sink - which collects condensation from a nearby air conditioner - overflowed, leaving a stream of damage as water dripped down four floors.

“We’ve sucked 50 to 60 gallons of water out of the carpets,” said Pete Fortin, city finance director.

A security guard found the damage early Monday morning. By that time, the water destroyed at least one legal brief, stained ceiling and carpet tiles, damaged several sewer files, shorted out a computer keyboard and peeled paint off walls.

“See how it migrated?” Fortin said, pointing from one sopping ceiling tile to a wet patch of carpet several feet away. “Water seeks its own level. It followed the channels in the flooring.”

On Tuesday, Rocco Treppiedi sat near a fan in a legal conference room, surrounded by wet documents that reeked of mildew. “We’re trying to dry these out,” said the assistant city attorney, pointing to a notebook filled with crinkled and sticky papers.

Gary Persons, city employee relations director, said he won’t know the damage cost for several days, but he estimated several thousand dollars in repairs.

Maintenance crews are trying to clean carpets, but many sections probably will need to be replaced, Persons said. They also haven’t removed the ceiling tiles to see what problems the water may have caused.

As yet, no one’s admitted to knowing anything about the pie tin and the city doesn’t plan an investigation, Persons said. “I think it was an accident. They probably set it there to let it soak and forgot about it.”

“I’m just glad I don’t eat pie,” said one employee as she breezed through a damaged room.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color photo