A few minutes past 6 p.m. on Oct. 23, Thalia Station 7 firefighter Hope Scott responded to an emergency call from Jones Art Gallery. A line break was spewing hundreds of gallons of water into the gallery on the ground floor of the Armada Hoffler building.
The station’s crew jumped into action.
Until that moment, it had been a great week for the gallery. They were celebrating the international release of John Grisham’s book “Ford County,” featuring Louis Jones’ cover page illustration – his third for the author – and the Spanish-language, worldwide release of “Conversations with God,” four volumes of which bear Jones’ cover art.
Artist Susan Jones, who is married to Louis, was sitting at the desk beneath the gallery’s exposed piping.
“A steel bolt shot past, and suddenly I was under water,” she said. “The volume was so huge, it actually knocked the diamond out of my ear.”
The deluge showed no signs of stopping.
“I come from a family of watermen, so it was, ‘The ship is sinking, and I have to stop the water,'” said Louis Jones, who grabbed the gallery’s 20-foot ladder. Balancing on top at the valve hand-wheel, he discovered that “turning the wheel made no difference, and I was standing in the equivalent of a fire hydrant, surrounded by electrical wires.”