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“It’ll be years before we’re back to normal,” library director Richard Bovard said. A swimming pool-like atmosphere pervaded the main library at North Dakota State University Tuesday morning.
In the lobby, damp sepia-toned photographs lay out drying, and library staff did salvage work.
Downstairs, murky black water was strewn with limp newsprint. Tables floated and full bookcases stood in a sea of storm water, sewage and elevator oil that was 4 feet high at midday.
Tuesday afternoon, library staff smelled smoke and saw the water boil. Something was burning below the water line, said interim library director Richard Bovard, so Northern States Power Co. and the Fargo Fire Department arrived to turn off the building’s power.
Late in the afternoon, Bovard prepared to shut up the building.
A tidal wave of water
In Tuesday’s early morning hours, pressure from rising water burst through several windows on the library’s south side and damaged its foundation. The tide washed through Institute for Regional Studies archives, which include one-of-a-kind documents and photos, and a book collection on North Dakota and the region