COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - A closer look at the damage inside the government center tower in Columbus reveals what city inspectors now confirm to the city council, which is 36,000 gallons of water leaking from the top, flooding into several courtrooms and offices.
Councilors in attendance for June 19's meeting watched video of the damage recorded on Monday, June 18. Building Code and Inspection director John Hudgison detailed that the tower's maintenance staff identified the source of the leak was a pipe connected to the building's water heater.
"Imagine, more or less... a fire hose," Hudgison said, describing the pipe, "literally just chopped off and running for hours. Ideally," he said, "that's the amount of water that was flowing into the building unchecked."
That pipe connects to a system installed in the early 1970s, which the government center itself assessed back in 2013, was a "poor" system and one that "surpassed its serviceable life."
And although the local Servpro office has worked with tower staff to remove any standing water, Hudgison and other city officials say floors nine through eleven, where many courtrooms and judge's chambers are built, suffered substantial damage.
Seeping water also damaged floors five through eight enough to only allow essential personnel in and out of the building to recover sensitive documents with a Muscogee County Sheriff's Office escort.
Moving forward, insurance adjusters will make their way inside the tower over the next days to assess the damage.