2014-01-16 / Front Page

Pipes rupture at Bad Axe High

BY KELLY TAYLOR-JEROME
News & Sports Editor • kjerome@mihomepaper.com • 810-245-9345


John Palmer, of AB Edwards Restoration, tears out dripping insulation and ruined drywall in the Bad Axe High School foyer. Bad Axe closed school Thursday, Jan. 9 because a burst pipe in the school’s fire sprinkler system caused flooding in and around the school’s entrance. 
Photo by Kelly Taylor-Jerome John Palmer, of AB Edwards Restoration, tears out dripping insulation and ruined drywall in the Bad Axe High School foyer. Bad Axe closed school Thursday, Jan. 9 because a burst pipe in the school’s fire sprinkler system caused flooding in and around the school’s entrance. Photo by Kelly Taylor-Jerome BAD AXE — Bad Axe Public Schools board office personnel were able to return to their desks Monday after restoration workers said carpeting and walls had dried properly.

High School Principal and Bad Axe Interim Superintendent Greg Newland said two water leaks were discovered in the high school in the late afternoon of Wednesday, Jan. 9. The most serious of the leaks occurred in the fire sprinkler system in the school’s front foyer.

“The water went in all directions,” Newland said.

Crews from AB Edwards Restoration worked through the night Jan. 9 and 10 to ensure Bad Axe High School would be ready for students to return Friday morning. Newland said the crews returned after school Friday and worked throughout the weekend to dry the impacted areas and reduce the chance of mold growth.

“They worked around our school schedule,” Newland said.

The leak was discovered around 4:30 p.m. that Wednesday by a basketball coach who was at the school for practice, and it was likely caught within about 10 minutes of the pipe rupturing, Newland said.

“We were very fortunate we had people in the building. If it had happened in the night, who knows what we would be dealing with,” he said. “If this had happened just an hour later, it could have been a lot uglier.”

The water was mostly contained in the hallways near the foyer and was cleaned by using squeegees to push it out the front door. The carpet in high school’s central office was saturated, and water also entered the district board office and media center.

Newland said Monday the most of the district’s electrical equipment seems to have survived the flooding.

“The computers seem to be going OK, but the thing is, it could be tomorrow, it could be two weeks from now, it could be a month from now when you’re dealing with electronics,” he said.

AB Edwards Restoration crews set up fans to dry carpeting in the offices and media center, and on Jan. 10 worked to tear damaged insulation and drywall from the ceiling in the school’s foyer.

AB Edwards Project Supervisor Joshua Deacons said a crew of four worked to clean the damage, that Wednesday night and a crew of five worked throughout the day that Thursday. He said the damage was fairly extensive, but it could have been much worse if it hadn’t been caught early.

“It’s not the worst we’ve seen, I can tell you that. If I had to rate it on a scale of one to five, it’s probably a two or three,” Deacons said.

Early Wednesday afternoon, two workers ripped dripping insulation and soggy drywall from the ceiling immediately inside the school’s main entrance while two other workers swept and cleaned. Damaged ceiling panels had already been replaced by school personnel, Deacons said.

The challenge, he said, was to get the work done in time for students to return the next day. AG Edwards workers responded immediately after Newland called for help.

“We try to keep our response time to an hour or sooner, if we can,” Deacons said.

A second leak, which was unrelated to the sprinkler system, occurred when a coil in an air exchange ruptured above the kitchen and teacher’s lounge area. While some food items had to be thrown out and a copier in the teacher’s lounge has to be replaced, damage was minimal.

Newland said the leak in the kitchen was discovered by the school’s food service director, who came to the school Wednesday to get ready for students returning Thursday.

Newland said despite the four extra days added to winter break, the school still has a couple snow days left before the district will have to plan makeup days.

He said although the middle and elementary schools were ready for students on Thursday, school was cancelled for all students because the district needs 75 percent attendance for a school day to count.

“Because this school is eighth through 12th grade, we wouldn’t have met that requirement,” he said. “It’s a district-wide rate that you need to meet.”

Newland said school officials met Monday with an adjustor from the district’s insurance company, Set Seg. He said there is not yet an estimate for the cost to clean up and repair the damage.

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