New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

Habitat Magazine Insider Guide



Where There’s Fire, There’s Water Damage

Disaster strikes. We manage a large landmarked building on the Upper East Side that is divided in half — the lower portion is professional condominiums, and the upper portion is luxury residential apartments. Lo and behold, in one of the lower professional units, there was a fire one night. Within 15 minutes, people from our staff were on site at the building.


Soaking wet. With fires there’s always a tremendous amount of water damage. At this building both elevators were knocked out of service because there was so much water in the shafts. In fact, water probably causes as much damage, if not more, than the fire itself, because you’re dealing with mold and residue, and you have to remove carpeting, Sheetrock, rugs and whatever. It’s an expensive cleanup. Waiting for the Fire Department to get out, we had drying equipment and ventilating equipment all ready to go as soon as the building was turned over to us.


At the ready. Boards and managers should have some kind of emergency plan in place for a flood or a pipe break. Make sure that the valves are marked and accessible. There should be drawings in place so that if a pipe breaks in the middle of the night, you won’t be fumbling in the basement trying to find the valve to shut off a water tank or a pump. Also, boards have to make sure their management company is available 24/7. As the old Boy Scout saying goes, always be prepared.

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