This historic church was struck by lightning, with the fire growing to five-alarm status. By the time the fire was extinguished, thousands of gallons of water had been sprayed on the building, flooding the building’s contents, the interior structure and the crawlspace under the building.
Woodard was asked to provide the structure and content drying, along with cleaning and refinishing the pews and providing a conservation cleaning of the church’s statuary, altars, organ, and stained glass windows. We immediately dispatched our 200 kW generator and two 5000 CFM desiccant dehumidifiers. We also dispatched one of our tractor-trailers, three box trucks, 20 technicians and the supplies needed to begin our restoration work.
We routed flex duct tubing from the dehumidifiers throughout the church, also using 70 air movers to direct the warm dry air into key areas. Woodard’s technicians removed all of the church pews for cleaning and refinishing. Additionally, all of the charred material was removed from the church, and the remaining contents were carefully packed out for cleaning.
The antique statuary and the Stations of the Cross were carefully removed and transported away from the church for fine conservatory cleaning, saving them from the acidic soot that covered their surfaces. These historical pieces will be safely stored by Woodard until the church is ready for their return.
After we cleaned the altars, huge wooden boxes were fabricated around them for protection from future construction dirt and debris. Meanwhile, several holes were cut in the floor to access the crawl spaces beneath, directing warm drying air into these areas. We then cleaned the acidic soot off the stained glass windows, and built temporary protective coverings around each window. Finally, we utilized a dry ice blasting technique to remove soot from the bell tower and parts of the interior wood structure.
When the reconstruction is complete, Woodard will return to uncover the windows and altars, and to return the pews and artwork to their original positions.
With 120 employees, a fleet of 60+ vehicles and more than enough restoration equipment on-hand, Woodard was uniquely qualified to assist with this high-profile restoration job.