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Heat goes out in Aquarium & Conservatory

Jan Ellison says:

As you know, the Conservatory had an extreme heating problem last Sunday in the Fernery and was featured on Channel 2 News and in the Detroit News. The heat never got much better. The Fernery went down to 24 degrees Sunday night freezing several ferns. Additionally, there was a whole pane of glass out and one broken and one slipped. The air from the missing pane was literally moving the big tree ferns and had burned their leaves.

Last night at 3 AM, I got a call from Peter Thiede saying there was no heat at all, and he could not get into the Golightly greenhouses. I went down to Belle Isle where Peter had been searching for leaks. There were none in those greenhouses or anywhere else that he could find.

I then went back again today. I authorized by executive decision (ask for forgiveness, not permission) the rental of 21 heaters and propane for the greenhouses from Propane Services in Taylor. The City ordered four huge kerosene heaters and several 55 gallon drums of kerosene for the Conservatory which arrived late this afternoon. Brad Dick, Deputy Director of General Services, came out, after the inauguation this morning, to direct the operation.

Additionally, I contacted Steve Turner who pruned the palms. He came out today and was able to put plexiglass in the missing window by using ropes and ladders. I also authorized this due to the emergency nature of that problem. There were two inches of snow on the plants below this open window.

Later this afternoon, Dave from Great Lakes Power (the company that did the heating pipe in the greenhouse for us in late 2008) came out to try to find the leak. When I left at 6:00 they were still looking for it. Propane Services who arrived around 3:30 were still bringing in the propane as I walked out of the door. Steve Weaver is working all night tonight to monitor the heaters. Bill Horman stopped by this evening to help Steve keep the heaters full of fuel.

This evening around 9:30, I got a call from Peter to say that the heat is back on. Dave found the leak which was under the sidewalk in Greenhouse 1. They isolated this, turned on the water and the heat started up. Everything will begin to normalize by morning except for the greenhouses around this leak. They will still need some heaters for those houses.

I will keep you posted if anything else occurs. I hope that this is the end of it. It really looked for awhile that we were going to lose everything.

Jan Ellison