Recent cold weather has not only kept road and water crews busy, it has wreaked havoc on some local businesses in the form of frozen water pipes.
At Suntec Industries Inc., burst pipes created a “waterfall” in the front office Wednesday morning. On Wednesday afternoon, an apartment at Highland Ridge Assisted Living was showered with rust and water. And Wednesday evening, the fire protection water line at Ralphie’s Fun Center broke after freezing.
The Suntec incident can be traced to a heating unit that failed late last week, just before temperatures dipped into the single digits Sunday night. A replacement part for the heating system arrived Tuesday morning, and the watery mess developed Wednesday, said Lisa Parke, customer service and purchasing manager, in an email.
Parke was working at her desk Wednesday morning when she heard a slow dripping noise. The drip became more intense, and eventually the ceiling began leaking.
“That is when we really started to panic,” Parke wrote. “Everyone available was collecting what we could to get it out of the offices, electrical equipment first. ... From the time I first heard the drip, within 30 minutes we practically had a ‘waterfall’ in the front office and the ceiling was falling apart. The Glasgow Water (Co.) was there quickly, but there was also an issue with the sprinkler system, which caused even more water to come gushing out. We had the front door of the offices open so the water could run out, but it was freezing very quickly, creating paths of ice.”
A restoration crew began to clean Wednesday afternoon, but was challenged by working with no electricity and in temperatures colder than 10 degrees, Parke wrote. As of Thursday morning, they were still in the offices drying the carpets.
Parke wrote that the water pipes, sprinklers and ceiling must be repaired or replaced before the offices can be occupied again, but that the business continues to function.
“Our shipping department will be making shipments as normal and we hope to have production up and running by early next week,” wrote Parke, a 27-year Suntec employee. “All in all, it was a shocking experience. You just never think of something like this happening and especially not so quickly, but our team did an amazing job of handling the situation.”
At Highland Ridge, a unit and some of the resident’s belongings were drenched, and a few other rooms were affected less severely.
Doug McPherson, owner and executive director of the facility, said a 4-inch sprinkler line froze, and the pressure activated a trigger that set off two sprinklers – one in the kitchenette area and one in the bathroom. The fire alarm also went off, and the Glasgow Fire Department came and helped suck up some of the water, said receptionist Peggy Welch.
“It was like a river coming down the hall,” she said.
The resident has not been in the unit for a few days, but her family has been notified of the issue, Welch said.
Some of the resident’s clothing and furniture were damaged, and the kitchen cabinets and carpet will have to be replaced, McPherson said.
The spray pattern of the water on the ceiling was made apparent by the rust that accompanied it, and the reddish lines on the walls and in the still-squishy carpet illustrated the flow pattern from there.
The water spread into the hallway and started into one or two other units but was mostly stopped at the doors by towels. A drain spout was uncovered farther down the hall to funnel water away. But on the other side of the most-affect unit, the beauty salon was flooded with water, damaging one of the storage cabinets.
McPherson said his insurance company had not seen the damage yet, and he didn’t want to try to estimate the cost.
“We’re just not used to (those temperatures),” he said. “We thought we had (the sprinkler system) checked out where there wasn’t any water in the lines, but evidently we didn’t check close enough.”
Ralphie’s Fun Center owner Jason Kuykendall did not immediately return calls Thursday. Billy Carver, assistant manager at Glasgow Water Co., said the water company was called to the business to turn off the fire protection line.
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