Arctic chill leads to sprinkler issues
MARIETTA – The few days of extreme temperatures not only started freezing area rivers and left people out in the cold, but caused several water pipes in buildings across Marietta to burst.
The Marietta Mills apartments on Tuesday, and three locations on the Marietta College campus on Wednesday all experienced similar cases in which water lines, often connected to sprinklers, froze and then burst as temperatures increased after the “polar vortex” swept out of the region.
Buildings were tended to by the Marietta Fire Department and then turned over to building owners to assess and then make plans to repair any damage.
“If sprinkler lines are in a location that could be affected by inclement weather, or the heat goes out, they are at a higher risk, which we had for the couple of days,” Marietta Fire Department Chief C.W. Durham said.
At Marietta Mills, a sprinkler inside a spare bedroom of an apartment burst from the frozen pipes and flooded into the apartment Tuesday.
“We removed as much of the water as we could to minimize damage and turned it over to a maintenance manager,” Durham said. No official assessment was available on damage.
At Marietta College on Wednesday, firefighters first responded to similar situations at different locations. In Andrews Hall, which holds conference rooms, meeting facilities and student life offices, heat in the building stopped functioning the day before, which caused waterlines to freeze.
“They were all sprinkler system pipes that froze. First was in Andrews Halls, in the basement, so there’s damage, but there was no flooring so it was manageable,” said Tom Perry, executive director for strategic communications and marketing for the college.
In addition to Andrews Hall, pipes burst in the McDonough Center into a closet, which Perry said caused about 300 square feet of damage to the ceiling. About the same damage was reported in the college’s building at the former Moose Lodge that houses the Physician’s Assistant program.
“Our undergrads aren’t back at school but our Physician’s Assistant program grad students are, and they were just inconvenienced for about 45 minutes, as they had to move to another classroom and wait until they could move back in,” Perry said. “They’re under control and being managed. There’s just some damage that needs to be fixed soon.”