Sometime just after midnight on Sunday, a bolt connecting a water main pipe broke loose, sending thousands of gallons of water cascading down the stairs at Frenchtown High School, drenching floors,two gymnasiums and several classrooms.

photo by Peter Christian
Frenchtown Flood 1

Frenchtown High School Principal Jake Haynes said when he got to the school building early Sunday morning, there was water everywhere.

"There was a waterfall coming down into our high school commons area, and we were just trying to figure out how to get it turned off, and check for damages" Haynes said. "We'll have to replace a lot of carpet, but, of course, our gym's our biggest concern. The high school gym floor will need to be replaced for sure, and the junior high gym floor's not looking very good either."

Dayspring Restoration Project manager Kris Shallock said the sheer amount of water released into the school building presented a massive cleanup project for his company.

photo by Peter Christian
Frenchtown Flood

"We've been working since early Sunday morning on removing the water through the process of extraction, assessing the damages, and also beginning the dry-out process," Shallock said. "It's quite a large scope in that many areas of the building have been impacted. We've brought in resources from across the state from our Butte, Bozeman, Great Falls and Helena offices, as well as some of our large loss equipment that is also staged out of Butte."

Shallock would not venture an estimate of the overall damage to the school property, other than saying all large cleanup projects are different, however, one senior member of the staff said this is by far the largest cleanup project ever for Dayspring in Missoula.

Haynes said the junior high and high school are on leave until the first of the year.

"The younger kids, K through 6th grade have school through Thursday, and then everyone's out on Friday."

Haynes did not have an estimate of the damages, but that insurance would cover the cost of repairs and cleanup. He said he is hopeful that Dayspring and school personnel will have the facility ready to reopen after the New Year's break.



More From KMMS-KPRK 1450 AM