Your building is hit by a car, what do you do next?

Fleeing from the police through the streets of West Seattle, the stolen airport shuttle sped, uncontrollably towards the West Seattle Health Club. The impact could be heard blocks away, but the worst was yet to come….

It was like something out of a John Wick movie (but not as cool of a car). Car chases like these never happen in real life, or we think they don’t because we rarely, if ever see them. Vehicle impacts do occur, and when they do, what happens next? Have no fear, when it comes to the buildings that are impacted, Charter has a team that deals with this exact challenge.

Most vehicle impacts happen as one would expect, teaching one's children to drive as they accidentally place the car in (D)rive rather than (R)everse, and you’re left with a hole in the garage (or some similar scenario). Minor repairs and a bruised ego are easy to repair, but what about when it’s the front of a commercial building, like the West Seattle Health Club? The impact affected the wall where the pool was located and was compounded by a damaged gas line, which ignited a fire. This further caused the operations of the building to shut entirely and brought $300,000 in damages, which could sink any small business.
We’ll walk you through the steps it took to fix the damage and assist the Health Club to get operations going again so they may continue their schedule of water aerobics and Zumba classes once more.

1. Within the first 12-24 hours, Charter’s Emergency Response team cleaned up the crash debris, sheeted all open areas, and installed a fence for extra precaution and safety.

2. One line supplied the entire health club with gas. Even though the impact only affected the pool area, the whole building had to close. But it was essential for the owners to restart operations. In consultation with Seattle Public Utilities (SPU), we separated the gas line into two, so the other part of the facilities could open as we continued to work on the pool. SPU also assisted in obtaining a difficult-to-come-by 6-inch pipe for the gas line.

3. Re-open the pool. West Seattle Health Club is the only gym in West Seattle with a pool, so a quick re-open needed to happen. Fire from the crash released airborne toxins which clung to the ceiling’s trusses. We drained the pool and then constructed a floor 40-feet off the ground. This allowed the trusses to be cleaned by what is known as soda blasting. The debris fell, vacuumed by HEPA filter and then the floor was washed, and the trusses re-painted.

4. Lastly, the pool was re-plastered and filled up with water as we completed repairs to the building’s façade.

Throughout these projects, we usually find small repairs that need fixing. In this case, wiring needed to be brought up to code. 

There isn’t much that Charter’s Disaster Solutions team hasn’t seen. 

We tackle those unexpected emergencies: floods, fires, or a bus driving through your front wall. When those car chases make their way off the big screen, we understand time is of the essence to get your business back up and running. That’s all in a day’s work at Charter. Call us if the weird or the ordinary strike. We’re here to help.

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