Cold snap causing plumbing problems - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Cold snap causing plumbing problems

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) - The bitterly cold weather has been causing plumbing problems across the Tennessee Valley Friday as frozen pipes begin thawing.

Students in University of Chattanooga at Tennessee's Decosimo Apartments had to evacuate the on-campus hall after fire alarms sounded.

"The loudest fire alarm I've heard in 20 years," says resident Alex Lusk.

Extremely cold weather froze part of the sprinkler system. It then cracked and burst in the wee hours of Friday morning, leaking water down from the third floor. It's not the way Lusk wanted to end the first week of the new semester.

"We looked at our room. Two inches of water on the ground coming out of our room, and then going into our room," recalls Lusk. His room is on the first floor.

He and several others had to spend the rest of the night in another building. Crews were called to set up fans to start drying the carpets.

UTC spokesperson Chuck Cantrell says the Chattanooga Fire Department responded quickly and checked out the damage.

"We're afraid that because the dry wall got so wet, we don't want mold to develop," says Cantrell. "So we're going to have to replace some of the dry wall."

There is also water damage to ceiling tiles, and at least one hallway overhead light shattered.

Lusk is one of around 15 students in four rooms who can no longer live here until the damage is cleaned up. Cantrell says it could be up to two weeks before the students can move back into the building. Until then, school officials are going to help them find temporary housing.

"They'll be relocated to new housing on campus so that they can still be here, right here where they want to be," explains Cantrell.

Until Lusk get that call he'll have to stay elsewhere for another night.

"Luckily, I've made a few friends living in this building. Hopefully, I can crash with them," Lusk says optimistically.

At least there hasn't been much, if any, damage to his belongings. Cantrell says everyone has been patient and taking the situation all in stride.

"Inconvenience of the weather. But everybody's dealing with it," adds Cantrell.

He also says that repairs to the sprinkler system are already underway and repairs to the rooms will start "immediately".
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