Damage minimal from pipe break at Colgate Elementary
Wednesday, 05 February 2014 15:59

Pipe break sent students home last Monday

by Nicole Rodman

    Students at Colgate Elementary School got an unexpected day off after a frozen water line broke inside the school on Jan. 27.
    The school closed in the wake of the pipe break, sending students home at 9:30 a.m. Repairs were made and the school reopened the following day.
    While rumors of extensive water damage at the school have been circulating since last Monday’s incident, according to Baltimore County Public Schools (BCPS) staff, the damage was minimal.alt
    “The incident at Colgate Elementary School ... was due to a frozen water line,” the BCPS Department of Physical Facilities explained, adding, “Maintenance and Operations staffs were quick to respond which resulted in the reduction of damages to the facility and enabled students to return safely to school the very next day.”
    Colgate principal Kevin Connelly also downplayed the severity of the break.
    In a statement to The Eagle last Tuesday, Connelly said, “We had a wonderful clean-up crew of BCPS staff and contractors who worked at our site yesterday.  The building was clean and ready for students today.”
    He added, “We have mostly material damages due to water damage and will replace materials damaged by water.”
    With record cold blanketing much of the country throughout January, water line breaks like the one at Colgate have become commonplace in recent weeks.

During severe cold, the water in pipes can freeze. As the water freezes, it expands. This added pressure can cause pipes to burst.
    To prevent pipes from freezing, the American Red Cross advises residents to let cold water drip from faucets served by exposed pipes. Running water can keep a pipe from freezing.
    If a faucet is only letting out a small stream of water, this may indicate that the pipe is frozen.
    The Red Cross recommends thawing a frozen pipe by wrapping an electric heating pad or towel soaked in hot water around the pipe.
    A portable space heater may also be used, although care should be taken to avoid setting the heater near anything flammable.
    More information on frozen pipes is available at www.redcross.org/prepare/disaster/winter-storm/preventing-