DALLAS — About 14 exhibitors at the International Builders' Show experienced a mishap Jan. 15 when a sprinkler head burst, soaking three rows of exhibits in the basement of the Dallas Convention Center. The flood waters started to flow at about 1:30 p.m. on the second day of the annual trade show for the building industry, witnesses said.
More than an inch of water flowed into booths, soaking carpets as exhibitors rushed to put their products up on stands and remove them from harm's way.
No equipment was lost or sustained water damage, the affected exhibitors said. However, the carpets were soaked and had to be removed from the aisles. Carpets in the booths were still wet the next afternoon.
The affected parts of the three aisles were blocked off for about 21/2 hours, when it was nearly time for the show to end for the day, said Kris Jenkins, product manager of Columbus, Ohio-based TimberTech Ltd.
Though she said the composite decking manufacturer had about 15 customers in its booth when the water main burst, Jenkins was able to joke about the accident.
"We should've built an ark instead of a deck," she said.
Dave Farley, a manager of BC Wood Specialities Group, said his booth was spared, but it took nearly an hour before the cleaning crew arrived to clear out the water.
"We were standing here just watching the water come up," he said.
Others weren't as lucky.
Booths for Comfort Bilt Windows and Doors, Advanced Sun Systems and Laser Reference were emptied of employees while custodians hustled to mop and vacuum up the excess water.
Though the water only reached the edges of Surface Shields Inc., it drove away what had been a steady stream of customers coming through, said Jamey Alexander, a Surface Shields representative.
"There's no traffic. It shut us down," she said.
The sponsor of the show, the National Association of Home Builders, downplayed the flood and said it was all under control before they really knew anything about it.
"It's really no big deal. I'm sure [the affected exhibitors will] be compensated in some way" said Dennis Harrison, NAHB's managing staff vice president for conventions and meetings.