Harold “Cookie” Warpool, an employee in Department of Plant Services Paint Shop, was, of all things, standing on the roof of his house checking the gutters Sunday morning when he was called into work.
Right away, it was not looking like a routine day; it usually takes Warpool about 10 minutes to drive to Vanderbilt.  With flooding streets it took him an hour to drive through side roads to reach the Medical Center.  
“I’ve been working here 24 years and we’ve had floods, but nothing like this. The workers that we were trying to call in to help us couldn’t get in because the roads were blocked. We were kind of like, ‘What are we going to do? What are we going to do with this water?’” he said.
His first priority was fixing the drain pipe that had burst on the first floor of the Emergency Department, shutting down two patient rooms.  When that was under control, with the help of workers from the Plumbing Shop and several wet vacs, it took about seven hours to clean up the ED.  
While walking through the basements of The Vanderbilt Clinic, he said the only thing on his mind was making sure water wasn’t going to keep rising, and to protect the offices, clinics and millions of dollars of equipment. The Metro Fire Department was even called in to help pump out water.
“I stood in water up to my knees for about nine hours. That whole time it was like, ‘Where is this water coming from?’ I was more confused than anything and thinking is it ever going to go down.”
As he walked from the flooded TVC basement through the hospital tunnels Warpool recalls water rolling down the hallways to Children’s Hospital.
“The water traveled through the tunnels to Children’s Hospital because it was the only way for the water to go, running downhill. It was pretty wild.”
In some areas of the basement, the flooding reached four feet. Since the flood, Vanderbilt and contracted staff have been working together nonstop to repair damages, strip carpets, replace vinyl and repaint walls. Truckloads of furniture have been cleared out to be cleaned and sanitized.  
“It is a challenge to us and it is a lot of work. Carpenters, electricians, painters, area maintenance, plumbers, HAR and [Special Equipment Repair] shops, everyone has to work together. The damage is pretty devastating, but we clean it up, fix it up and get it back in shape,” Warpool said.
“I am really proud of the people I am working with, putting in 12 or 15 hours a day. By the time you go home you don’t have a whole lot of time to do anything else and you come back in the next day. I think we have done a good job.”
Warpool and his colleagues received effusive thanks for their tireless works in all parts of Vanderbilt. One example came from Terrell Smith, director of Patient and Family Centered Care.
“They’ve been everywhere day and night (but they always are and we just don’t notice) helping us to get clinics and classrooms repaired. They have been pleasant, helpful and very efficient,” she said.

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