Sprinkler malfunction ruins $20,000 worth of books at local school

KINGSPORT, TN (WJHL)- One local elementary school canceled class Monday, after an overnight mishap caused more than $20,000 in damage.

A sprinkler went off early Monday morning at Rock Springs Elementary School in Sullivan County.

Rock Springs’ Principal  Dr. Josh Davis said it ruined about 2,000 books. He estimates the lost books to be worth more than $20,000.

But in this unexpected mess, parents and people in the community have shown up to lend a helping hand.

“The immediate thought is we’ve got to go help,” Rock Springs parent Kristina Alford said.

Monday, she and her third-grader gathered box fans to help clean up the school.

“He just said I’m happy to be out of school but I’m sad for my library and the classes that are damaged,” Alford said.

Davis saw that damage first hand when he got to the school just before 3 a.m. Monday

“By the time everyone arrived we realized that a sprinkler had burst, at that point about 45 minutes had passed and there was substantial water damage to the interior of the building,” Davis said.

One sprinkler head went off in the library, “Then spread throughout the building, affecting the music room, library, and about 18 classrooms,” Davis said.

Davis said the water ruined one quarter of the library’s books.

“It’s very disheartening because the children love our library,” Alford said.

Now sounds of a fan fill the library, the librarian’s new book displays are gone, and the shelves are empty.

“The situation is bad, but could’ve been so much worse. If it weren’t for the quick actions of our maintenance department, maintenance workers coming in all night long and the faculty and staff coming in as they’re waking up and getting things cleaned up and dried out and working really hard to get things to where students can come back,” Davis said.

Davis said administrators are still evaluating when the school will be ready to welcome back students.

He said they are still in the process of removing the water and evaluating what the next steps are from here.

If you would like to help Rock Springs , especially the library, you can call the school at 423.354.1380

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