Country Inn inundated
December 1, 2004
The pipes in the laundry room of Genoa’s Legends Country Inn yielded to the record-breaking low temperatures Tuesday. They burst, together with those in the neighboring Sugar Plum Bakery, but building owner Bettie Kanelos was taking it all in stride.
“No one was hurt and nothing was seriously damaged, but it was a real pain the neck,” she said.
The building houses a number of businesses and water from the laundry room dropped into the Pilates exercise salon directly below. Water also ran into the Dancing Deer gift shop from the bakery, Kanelos said.
Everything is drying out and some drywall will have to be replaced, but the plumbers came out right away. She lauded Genoa’s volunteer fire department, who brought their Shop Vac.
“The fire department is right next door,” Kanelos said. “These firefighters are also our neighbors. We help each other.”
District Fire Chief Tod Carlini said his department has received about a half-dozen calls similar to this one since the temperatures dropped earlier this week, primarily for businesses equipped with fire sprinklers.
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“Most of the lines are tied to the fire sprinklers,” he said. “So when the water starts flowing the fire alarm is activated. Only the fire department can terminate that response.”
Freezing water expands to break the pipes, but the real problems don’t start until the water thaws and starts flowing.
“In some cases, the water is a real hazard,” Carlini said. “Electrical systems can be affected and the water builds up in the spaces between the walls. The weight can collapse them.”
Under state law the only people who can fix these systems, which are primarily located in commercial buildings, are specially licensed contractors, Carlini said.
“We’ve had six lines break in the Carson Valley, but you can bet they’ve had four times that number in Reno,” Carlini said. “Right now, those contractors are overwhelmed.”
Firefighters here are equipped with squeegees and salvage covers to help with the messy breaks, Carlini said.
“We do what we can to stop the water flow,” he said. “We work with the businesses to mitigate the damage and usually, they can open again for short periods without their sprinkler systems. We don’t have to close businesses down often.”
— Susie Vasquez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 782-5121, ext. 211.