Fragile and Expensive Books Restored

When Hurricane Ike slammed into Galveston Texas, it tore through a two- story book store like a locomotive – leaving the first floor with a foot of mud, debris, and thousands of rare and vintage books scattered, damaged and some floating in severely contaminated water.

The contents team wasn’t called in until 2 weeks after the disaster and by that time, the second floor was riddled with mold.

They could only send in one person at a time, so each contents valet helped make a path for the one that followed. They all wore PVC boots, Tyvek suits and full-faced respirators with organic filters. And through sheer determination and practiced skill, the frontline workers managed to get all the books and shelves packed out on the first floor and back to their headquarters for further cleaning and restoration in just 5 days – in spite of the fact that there was a city-wide ordinance that forced them to close down at 5 p.m. each day.

The owner and two of her employees went upstairs and after carefully wiping down the fragile and expensive books, carefully packed them all in over 150 boxes – which were transported to temporary storage in four trucks.

Once all the books were safely removed, the team disinfected the entire building – cleaning and destroying the mold and bacteria that still remained. They took up the carpet with nothing but the bare bones of the store remaining, the team chose to spray disinfectant on every visible surface with a power washer.

The power was out, so they supplied their own and dried the structure with nine dehumidifiers and powerful air movers.

The whole assignment was completed in 15 days and in an article for R&R Magazine, the owner was quoted as saying, “The store looked like a disaster area, and everyone knows that water and books do not go together well…“We couldn’t be happier with the way things turned out.”

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