Southbank Hotel Seriously Damaged by Gameday Vandalism
In fact, they will tell you that they wished the Jaguars would play many additional games. This has been true at the Hilton Garden Inn and Homewood Suites.
But this past weekend, an unusual crime was committed that received very little publicity. The nearly brand-new (18 months old) Hilton Garden Inn and Homewood Suites (sharing the same building) located at 1201 Kings Avenue were flooded and remain closed for renovations.
According to hotel workers, sometime after the Jacksonville Jaguars game against the Colts, an irate partier (supposedly angry because of the Colts loss) purposely opened two giant water valves inside the hotel. The resulting flood ruined ceiling tiles, walls and even the elevators. One employee who asked not to be name stated, “We’re shut down right now and all the rooms are empty. We hope to open some of the rooms and lobby soon. We’ll be back.”
Giant blowers and suction devices sit in front of the building bilging the water and removing the humidity. “The worst part of the crime is that water flowed down into all eight elevators. Without elevators, we can’t get people up to the upper floors that were not damaged. We hope to have one elevator working soon.”
Walking inside, it is easy to assess the damage. Waterlogged ceiling tiles have been removed leaving half of the ceiling exposed and puddles of standing water remain to be mopped up by the cleanup crews.
It is hard to imagine anyone conceived of such a crime. In his mischievous and destructive rampage, the person or persons opened the giant valves which Firemen use to save lives and the hotel in case of an accidental fire. One valve was opened on the first floor and then a second valve was opened on the fourth floor.
To ensure that the flow of water could not be remedied, devilish hooligans used a tool to remove the valve handles. The handles were then hidden. Without the handles, hotel staff could not close the valves. In just minutes, the water was nearly two inches deep on each of the four floors.
According to national requirements, fire valves must have a flow rate of 500 gallons per minute on the ground floor and 250 gallons per minute on each additional floor. Estimates of the flood waters were established at least 45,000 gallons.
Since the event, Jacksonville Sheriff Officers have interviewed several people who were staying at the hotel during the vandalism. So far no arrests have been made. Insurance dollars should cover most of the damages including workers salaries.
Currently specialized workers from around the state have gathered to begin cleaning up the mess. When the work is complete it will look better than new.