Storm damage forces closure of Burton Barr Central Library in Phoenix

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A powerful monsoon storm caused major damage to Phoenix's central library on Saturday night. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) A powerful monsoon storm caused major damage to Phoenix's central library on Saturday night. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
A view of the damaged roof at the Burton Barr Central Library in Phoenix. (Source: Phoenix Fire Dept.) A view of the damaged roof at the Burton Barr Central Library in Phoenix. (Source: Phoenix Fire Dept.)
Crews from the Phoenix Fire Department worked through the night to clean up storm damage at the  Burton Barr Central Library. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Crews from the Phoenix Fire Department worked through the night to clean up storm damage at the Burton Barr Central Library. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

A powerful monsoon storm caused major damage to Phoenix's central library on Saturday night. 

The storm hit the library so hard that the building's floating roof lost tiles and eventually damaged a fire sprinkler water line. 

A maintenance worker discovered the water damage at the Burton Barr Central Library late Saturday after the storm brought strong winds, heavy rain and hail to central Phoenix.

Phoenix Fire Capt. Rob McDade said that a high flow of water has fallen onto books, carpets and multiple floors of the five-story library.

[RAW VIDEO: Crews work on the damage at Burton Barr Central Library part one]

[RAW VIDEO: Crews work on the damage at Burton Barr Central Library part two]

"The water got into the raised floor which has computer access space which then allowed the water to disperse throughout different parts of the building," said Phoenix Fire Capt. Reda Bigler. "We are still assessing the damage but we estimate about 50 percent of the building is involved right now."

According to Bigler, the sprinkler line carried about 60 gallons of water per minute, much like a fire hydrant.

It is estimated that the water was flowing for at least 30 minutes before it was shut down. 

[SLIDESHOW: Storm damage at Burton Barr Central Library in Phoenix]

Fire crews and building engineers are assessing the extent of the roof damage.

The Burton Barr Central Library is Phoenix's flagship library, with more than 1 million visitors every year.

"It's not just a library, this is more like a community center," said Phoenix Councilman Michael Nowakowski.

Nowakowski added that city officials are working with the library's engineers and original architect to mitigate the issues the water line breakage has caused.

[SPECIAL SECTION: Arizona Monsoon 2017]

On Sunday, more than 300 drying fans and 30 to 40 dehumidifiers were placed throughout the building in order to get rid of the moisture.

"Our staff is heartbroken, as book lovers, this is not easy, but we want people to know that we are doing our best," said Lee Franklin, the library's spokeswoman. 

According to the library's social media post, the Burton Barr Central Library may be closed for two to three days while they repair the damage and clean up.

The library is at 1221 North Central Avenue, between McDowell Road and Roosevelt Street.

[RAW VIDEO: News conference on storm damage at Burton Barr Central Library in Phoenix - July 16, 2017 at 11 a.m.]

[ONLINE: Phoenix Public Library locations and hours]

PHOENIX PUBLIC LIBRARY FACEBOOK POST:

"As reported earlier in the evening, Burton Barr Central Library suffered a water leak on the roof due to this evening's storm. Building maintenance staff noticed the leak just before 8pm. Fire crews responded and immediately began to locate the source of the leak and to mitigate water damage.

Fire crews along with building engineers are continuing to assess the extent of the damage to the roof, and resulting water damage throughout the building. Further assessment is needed which will be ongoing throughout the next several days.

Burton Barr Central Library will be closed until further notice. Materials and services are still always available through phoenixpubliclibrary.org as well as hours of operation and addresses for our 16 additional locations. We will post regular updates as services come back on line at Burton Barr Central Library on the main page of our website. Our profound heartfelt thanks to the crews with Phoenix Fire Department that responded so quickly and professionally.

City of Phoenix, AZ USA

The Associated Press contributed to this story

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