Vacant Lima Mall space flooded by malfunctioning sprinklers

LIMA — It was a cleanup on multiple aisles Friday as a crew from Service Master was at the Lima Mall to address a flooding issue.

According to sales and marketing director Brian Lybarger for Service Master, a sprinkler malfunction caused the former Sears space to flood with water overnight for six to eight hours, also affecting surrounding shops.

“We got a call around 9:30 this morning about the malfunction and the old Sears location, which is now vacant, was completely flooded with standing water throughout,” he said.

The crew has been working hard to clean up water that spread to the area outside of Route 21 and FYE Music Store after the water went under the wall of the Sears space, but they have not yet received approval from mall owners to clean the main area affected.

“We’re extracting water out, but it just keeps coming,” Lybarger added. “Until we get all the water removed from Sears, it’s just going to keep coming under into the main section.”

To clear the 139,000 gallons of water and dry the area, the crew will have to pump the standing water out, which could take as long as three whole days to get removed as soon as they are given the go-ahead.

“We actually have a plan in place already,” Lybarger said. “Once we get approval, we’re all set and we have a pump that we’ll submerge into the water and it will shoot out through the back dock. As soon as we get that pump started, the water will move out pretty quickly and we can start the whole drying process.”

While the area is blocked off from patrons, Lybarger said that he hopes the stores will be able to be open by this evening.

“At the same time, and I’ve expressed this to the business owners and managers that if we’re not allowed to go to the Sears side, tomorrow morning, it’ll be the same situation,” he said. “It’ll be a tough hill to climb.”

Lybarger said that he would recommend businesses install alert systems to avoid accidents like this happening for hours on end.

“If that was the case, we could have been here within the hour and probably prevented all of this,” he said. “It can prevent a lot of issues.”

The mall declined to comment on the matter.

Reach Jacob Espinosa at 567-242-0399.