Faulty sprinkler blamed for Vogelweh food court flood
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — A faulty sprinkler head is to blame for flooding the food court at the Vogelweh military complex on Friday and shutting down services over the weekend, Army and Air Force Exchange Service officials said.
The barbershop could open as early as Wednesday after safety checks, said Scott Maynard, store manager for the Vogelweh base exchange. But the food court probably will not open until Thursday at the earliest, said Gary Burton, AAFES general manager for the Kaiserslautern military community.
It could be several days more before servicemembers and their families will be able to enjoy The Spa, where the defective sprinkler was located and did the most damage, Burton added.
The sprinkler head in one of the spa’s rooms on the second floor began gushing water early Friday morning, setting off an alarm and flooding the top floor. It took about an hour for firefighters to find the source of the leak and shut the water off. In that hour, the top floor had more than 6 inches of water and the bottom floor, where the food court is, had more than 2 inches. The water knocked off power.
“It was like a bumbling brook going down the stairs,” Maynard said.
Air Force and exchange personnel were able to save the food by rushing a refrigerated truck to the food court. After pumping out the water, they used industrial fans and dehumidifiers to remove the water and moisture.
Many employees worked the entire day to clean the place so that it might be open this week.
“The important things is nobody got hurt and there wasn’t a fire,” Maynard said. “Everyone just came in and worked together.”
The exchange complex at Vogelweh is the biggest in Europe in terms of sales, Burton said. On a typical weekend, the food court pulls in about $45,000, he added.
Officials won’t know the extent of the damage to some of the spa and food concession equipment until they do safety checks. Electricians will test every electrical socket in the building Wednesday to see if they work.