Gladewater faces the horror story of a flooded library

Gladewater Water Woes

GLADEWATER, Texas (KLTV) - Many East Texas cities are lifting their boil water notices after last week’s freeze, and Gladewater did just that late Thursday afternoon. But several days ago it was a bit of a horror story at the city’s library.

Gladewater City Manager Ricky Tow says late last week a pipe burst in the city’s Lee Public Library.

“There is substantial damage in there, so right now we’re just waiting on them to get some assessments done,” Tow said.

“Them” are Specialized Restoration, who have been working cleanup.

“Four days now, pulling this apart,” Tow said.

They tracked down the wall where it happened, but not the specific pipe.

“Our old plans do not actually show the routing they took on the plumbing,” Tow said.

Tow thinks it froze because they lost gas service in the library.

“At the freeze point we did not have heat in there so we were relying on our little space heaters like everybody else,” Tow said.

So now fans are blowing, furniture is being evaluated, shelves are being pulled and books are being boxed up.

“We’re going to have to ship them out. The ones that are salvageable will be shipped out for freeze dry. We’re working on that process now,” Tow said.

Specialized Restoration will put the moist books in a very cold vacuum chamber which they say will dry the paper and kill mold and bacteria.

“Quite ironic here; during the COVID shut down, we actually had our employees here doing an inventory,” Tow said.

There are about 32,000 books, and many will need the treatment.

“There were a lot of valuable books in there. Some of them had been donated, some of them had been purchased way back,” Tow said.

The library was built in the early seventies, and the city doesn’t plan on shutting it down.

“That’s the goal here is to restore them and get them back on the shelves for enjoyment,” Tow said.

So when the library is back up and running, well, you might want to check it out.

Tow says they still don’t know when the library will reopen, or how much the cleanup will cost.

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WEBXTRA: Gladewater Library