Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Burst pipe forces Hillsborough County Center in downtown Tampa to close

TAMPA — A burst water pipe forced the closure Monday of the Frederick B. Karl County Center in downtown Tampa.

The 28-story building at 601 E Kennedy Blvd. is set to reopen today, but work remains drying out floors and walls and determining the cause of the leak, said Tom Fass, the county's real estate and facilities management services director.

The third-floor pipe, which sends water into the building's fire sprinkler system, burst about 7 p.m. Sunday, Fass said. A security guard noticed it and county employees stopped the leak within 30 minutes. But by then enough water had streamed from the high-pressure pipe to flood the bottom three floors.

The water damaged the building's potable water system, disabling all bathrooms above the second floor, and knocked out several elevators. By late Monday afternoon, bathroom service had been restored throughout the building, where about 1,200 county government employees work.

Monday's incident provided county offices with an opportunity to test their COOPs — Continuity of Operation Plans — that are used to ensure government services continue in an emergency like a hurricane. Many employees worked from home or reported to remote sites.

Large plastic tubes lined the second floor — County Commission chambers and commissioners' offices — pumping hot air into walls to dry residual water and prevent mold. More than 100 carpet dryer units were in use around the building.

The damage could cost more than $200,000, Fass said, but the cost to the county should not exceed $100,000, its insurance deductible.

A similar incident happened on Memorial Day weekend, Fass said, but because it was a holiday weekend the building did not need to be closed. County workers are trying to figure out what caused the pipe the burst.

"We're trying to investigate what caused this, so we're not dealing with this again in three weeks," Fass said. "It's been a long two days."

Times staff writer Dan Sullivan contributed to this report. Will Hobson can be reached at (813) 226-3400 or [email protected]

Burst pipe forces Hillsborough County Center in downtown Tampa to close 06/16/14 [Last modified: Monday, June 16, 2014 11:37pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Clearwater eyes hiring new downtown director within two months

    CLEARWATER — Now that the city director tasked with revitalizing downtown has resigned after his arrest on a battery charge during Oktoberfest, City Manager Bill Horne said the goal is to not leave the position vacant long.

    Clearwater Assistant City Manager  Micah Maxwell will oversee downtown until the city hires a replacement for Seth Taylor.
  2. Tampa Bay's Top 100 Workplaces deadline extended to Nov. 17


    Think you work at one of the best places in Tampa Bay? You've got a little more time to make a pitch.

    Penny Hoarder and Gregory, Sharer & Stuart were among those at an event in Tampa last May honoring winners of the Tampa Bay Times Top Workplaces awards. Nominations are now open for this year.  
[OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]
  3. Little separates McElwain and Muschamp eras of futility at Florida


     Florida Gators head coach Jim McElwain watches the second quarter of the Florida Gators game against Texas A&M, at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, in Gainesville.
  4. Tampa-based Checkers testing delivery, aims for record expansion


    TAMPA — Tampa-based Checkers Drive-In Restaurants continues to fly under the radar compared to dominant burger chains like McDonald's and Burger King.

    Checkers Franchisee Shaji Joseph, of Tampa, hoses down the front walkway of his store at 6401 Park Boulevard, Pinellas Park. The business has a new look including signage and exterior tile. One drive through has been eliminated for an outdoor dining area, right. Joseph owns nine Checkers and is planning to open his tenth in Tampa.
[SCOTT KEELER   |   Times ]
  5. What you need to know for Friday, Oct. 20


    Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today

    At last year's Dia de los Muertos, Casa Tina owner Tina Marie Avila (crouching) shows her "Ofrenda," or Day of the Dead alter. What would have been the 25th annual Dia de los Muertos Fiesta on Saturday had to be canceled this year because of Hurricane Irma. The folk festival will be back next year.
 [JIM DAMASKE  |  Times (2016)]