Burton Barr Library Closed Till Next Summer

By Will Stone
Published: Friday, August 18, 2017 - 4:18pm
Updated: Friday, August 18, 2017 - 4:44pm
City of Phoenix and Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates Inc.
View of damaged roof at Burton Barr Library in Phoenix.

Phoenix’s Burton Barr Library won’t be reopening till next summer. That comes after a pipe burst last month, causing major damage to the building.

This is what the city believes happened: a monsoon in July dislodged tiles from the library roof. That pushed dust into the building, creating the appearance of smoke and triggering the fire alarms. A corroded pipe burst connected to the sprinkler system and caused water to pour in the building.

City Manager Ed Zuercher said there had been reports of the faulty pipes, but top officials never saw them. “We’re going to find out how this could happen. Fix the building to be better than ever for public use by next summer,” he said.

With insurance, Zuercher said the city can afford the estimated repair costs, between $6 million and $8 million. In the meantime, they’ll move services to other branches and investigate why something wasn’t done about the pipes sooner.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The story has been updated to clarify what triggered the fire alarms.

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