On Jan. 24, the fire suppression system in Grace Baptist Church in Delaware, Ohio froze and subsequently burst, resulting in the flooding of several interior areas, including the kitchen, gymnasium and utility room. The church’s builder contacted Paul Davis Emergency Services of Delaware County; crews were immediately dispatched to extract water in the rooms. Ceiling tiles and cove base floor moldings were replaced, and the company also examined and dried other affected areas. The church was back to normal operations by the end of the week.

Then, on Feb. 2, while technicians from Paul Davis Restoration and Remodeling of Columbus were putting the finishing touches on the first loss, an ice storm hit central Ohio. The storm caused an ice dam to form around the entire roof of the church. Water began leaking through the ceiling, affecting all parts of the chapel as well as church classrooms.



Initial inspection of the site revealed water falling from the 25-foot ceiling in the sanctuary from an area of approximately 20 tiles. Water saturated the carpet and various pews on one side of the worshiping area. Upon review of the entire property, various ceiling tiles were found to reveal water damage which spread throughout the entire facility, including many classrooms.

As technicians began removing the damaged tiles, they observed standing water on the vapor barrier underneath the insulation. Where the ceiling tiles revealed damage, the water had already broken through the vapor barrier. There were also numerous areas where water was collecting on, but had not yet penetrated, the plastic barrier throughout the 50,000-square-foot roof.


At this point it became apparent that the extent of the damage was much greater than initially expected. The decision was made to remove all of the insulation, in order to expose all standing water and extract all visible moisture pockets. While roofers worked diligently to clear the ice dam in order to prevent further leakage, workers began traversing the attic framework joist by joist, pulling out all of the wet insulation and handing it down through openings in the ceiling for proper disposal.


When church officials were informed of the scope of the project, they expressed the importance of the upcoming weekend and the events planned for their annual Open House and fundraiser. Determined to meet the timeline, technicians dressed in Tyvek suits and masks and, suspended 30 feet above the sanctuary floor, braved the cold and dimly lit attic for three days, during which they removed and replaced approximately 30,000 square feet of insulation and vapor barrier.

Numerous axial air movers and large-area dehumidifiers were strategically placed throughout the facility to facilitate the drying process. Special care was paid to the church organ and to the wood located throughout the sanctuary and altar, along with the wood in the choir area and pews. The entire area was covered with plastic sheeting to ensure limited exposure to water, falling tiles and other debris occurring during the restoration process.


Paul Davis Emergency Services owner Tony Carrelli, in conjunction with Paul Davis Restoration Director of Mitigation Curtis Teets, worked with a crew of 13 technicians during all hours to extract water and tear out the damaged areas in the church. They completed the job and the final cleanup on Saturday, Feb. 5. The next day, Grace Baptist Church was ready to host its Annual Super Bowl Sunday Open House without disruption.

Carrelli and Teets were present at the Open House when the church presented a slide show of the damage and of Paul Davis crews restoring the building. “We were very humbled when the congregation applauded and cheered our team and our services,” Carrelli said. “There were approximately 400 guests in attendance, and we were happy to have helped the congregation.”

Eric D. Sapp, Associate Pastor at Grace Baptist Church, said the restoration work was marked by the company’s professionalism, exceptional customer service and the speed and quality of work.

“We appreciate the special care and obvious reverence that Paul Davis demonstrated while performing the work on our building. They had the utmost respect for the schedules of our various ministries,” the associate pastor said. “The work crews stayed late to finish the job, and then honored our congregation and guests with their presence the next morning at our special service.”