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Harsh winter weather causes pipe to burst

Justin Tardiff | Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Anyone working in or walking through the Main Building last Friday were in for an unpleasant surprise as a fire sprinkler water line pipe fell victim to the sub-zero temperatures outside.

The -45 degree wind chill took its toll on a pipe on the ground floor, which froze and subsequently burst around 5 p.m. Friday.

“Water gushed from the pipe causing damage to the ceiling and soaking the carpet,” said University spokesman and assistant vice president for news and information Dennis Brown.

Brown said workers were able to cap the pipe and fix the fire sprinkler system by Friday night, but there is still a hole in the ceiling, which needs to be repaired.

The area around the break will be examined by the utilities department this week to try to figure out how the cold air is getting into the building, Brown said. The University does not have a cost estimate of how much damage was done, but Brown said it was minimal.

However, this is not the first time the cold weather took its toll on the pipes around campus. Water flooded the third floor of the Hesburgh Library to the basement after a pipe burst in Feb. 2007. That incident resulted in the library closing for six hours and damaged approximately 1,500 books on the second floor according to Observer archives.