EAST LIVERPOOL - Severe damage was caused to North Elementary School Tuesday after an elbow joint in the sprinkler system ruptured, spraying water throughout the computer lab and into the adjacent library.
Classes are canceled throughout the district today due to the water break and continuing frigid temperatures which Superintendent James Herring said had caused a majority of the district's school buses not to start on Tuesday.
The waterline break caused loss of pressure in the sprinkler system, which activated a general fire alarm that brought police officers and the fire department to the school late Tuesday afternoon.
Jim Stewart of Brad’s Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning Inc. works on the carpeting in the North Elementary School library, where water from a broken pipe flooded the floor. (Photo by Jo Ann Bobby-Gilbert)
Mark Reed, director of buildings and grounds for the school district, also arrived and was able to isolate the spraying water, but not before it had been pouring into the computer lab for an estimated 20-25 minutes.
Assistant Fire Chief Tim Walker said water was running out of the two rooms and down the hallways of the school when they arrived.
Herring said he assumes the recent bitter cold temperatures which had schools closed Tuesday caused the pipe to burst, saying, "I don't know what else it would be."
He said he was uncertain whether or not the roof above that piping is insulated.
Herring said it was fortunate the spraying water was directed more toward the door between the library and computer lab than into the computer lab itself, limiting damage to the rest of the ceiling and, he hopes, most of the computers.
Several computers in the lab were soaked with water while many others seemed to be dry, and electrician Kevin Francis was evaluating the electrical system as cleanup efforts began Tuesday.
In addition to custodial workers, Reed and Herring and associate principals Jay Kiger and Bryian Burson and his family moved furniture from the soaked carpeting as workers from Brad's Carpet and Upholstery Inc. began the process of removing the thousands of gallons of water.
Herring said the damage is covered by insurance and the insurance carrier will be contacted.
Referring to the water break and the cold temperatures keeping buses from starting, Herring noted, "You can't beat Mother Nature."