PORTSMOUTH—- Flooding in City Hall Sunday, attributed to a burst pipe, soaked the IT room at police headquarters and insurance adjusters Monday were sill inspecting damage throughout the building, city officials said.

Police Chief Robert Merner said walls, ceiling and carpet in the police IT area were affected by the water leak, so two of his IT employees went to work Sunday night to relocate police IT operations. He said the employees moved computers and other equipment to the police training room and have been operating from there since.

Merner said it's fortunate the Police Department is a round-the-clock operation because when the flooding started in the IT area on Sunday morning, it was noticed quickly. He said desks and computers were moved to the training area and firefighters put tarps over other office equipment shortly after it started in that area.

Public Works Director Peter Rice said a water pipe to a heating element on the fourth floor of City Hall burst sometime overnight Saturday or Sunday, leading to the discovery of flooding from the top floor of the public building, all the way down to the basement. Contractors from Servicemaster restoration services were on scene Sunday afternoon.

Rice said Monday that everything is "getting drier" and an insurance adjuster was going through the City Hall building "floor-by-floor." He said it's too soon to know the cost of remediation, but damage will be covered by Primex, the city's insurance provider.

Rice said contractors will be retained to replace some sheet rock walls, carpeting and to make other repairs. He said some records in some offices got wet but have been dried and it appears no "records of consequence" were damaged. He said not all computers had been turned back on, but so far he's unaware of any damage to electronics in that side of City Hall.

The police chief said police computers contain critical and sensitive information, and "everything in this department runs off it," so it's fortunate no police electronics were damaged. He noted that police employees have been dealing for years with leaks when it rains, and recurring problems with rats, adding, "The people in this department are so good, they just work around it."

Sunday's flooding from the burst pipe, he said, follows "a whole summer of jack hammering."

The exterior of the City Hall building, on the Police Department side, has been under reconstruction for months, due to the brick facade that was peeling from the building.

Ward 2 Registrar Candace Thayer said she went into City Hall Sunday morning to work when she mistook the sound of flowing water for people inside the building. When she went into the second-floor registrars office, she said, she saw the office flooded and reported it to police.

In the registrars office, water leaked through the suspended ceiling, covered desks, electronics and documents. In the hallway outside that main floor office, ceiling tiles were soaked above and the carpet was wet below. Thayer and firefighters removed items out of the office and into the hallway while firefighters covered tables and walls with plastic tarps.

On the third floor above, ceiling tiles were soaked and firefighters pushed standing water to a stairwell to move it out. Tarps were also hung to minimize damage there.

The flooding was reported Sunday at 10:41 a.m. and, “The water had clearly been leaking for a while,” said Fire Capt. Bill McQuillen.

“The leak was from a line into a heater along the exterior wall," he said. "We shut off the water to stop the leak and then started clearing the water, and using tarps to protect anything valuable like computers and files.”