Store staff salvage goods after sprinklers trigger flood
BROWN Thomas MD Stephen Sealy was stoic yesterday as he watched staff dashing around in wellies, retrieving armfuls of sales stock after a 4am sprinkler problem triggered an interior flood.
Water had cascaded through the store, forcing the cancellation of the first day of its keenly awaited post-Christmas sale.
After the advent of snow, which cost the Grafton Street store so heavily during December, the department store boss hadn't expected a Christmas night flood to round off a tough 2010. "I asked our health and safety girl to check if we had policies in place to deal with plagues of frogs, boils and locusts because after the snow, what else could have happened?" he said, with a bemused smile.
Mr Sealy insisted though that the sale, starting 24 hours late at 9am today, will be "short and sharp with deep discounts" and will end on January 10.
He confirmed that the flood started with "a sprinkler head on the fifth floor in a staff kitchen area. I don't know if it was temperature change or whatever. The sprinklers ran for about an hour before they were detected by security; there is an investigation into what happened.
"The water cascaded through the building. The pressure of water above brought down ceilings in some areas. We have security around the clock and if we didn't, the damage would have been even worse.
"We have machinery in to dry the floors. We can take up some carpets, board up ceilings and we will be open for the sale, not looking as we normally do but not looking too bad.
"There is damage throughout the building. A lot of stock has been salvaged and teams have sorted out damaged stock.
"The sale opens with initial discounts of up to 60pc and we will be increasing discounts towards the end of the sale. After that we will move on to selling new season stock."
Mr Sealy said 2010 "has been a tough year".