Frozen pipes inundate Minden-Tahoe Elks Lodge |

Frozen pipes inundate Minden-Tahoe Elks Lodge

What's left of the ceiling tiles and other refuse from the inside of the Elks Lodge lies in a pile in front of the office that was flooded on Sunday.
Kurt Hildebrand |

A break in the main line of the Tahoe-Douglas Elks Lodge fire sprinkler system filled at least one of the offices up to the windowsill on Sunday.

Elks member Mary Reterer said the sprinkler lines run through an uninsulated attic and it’s not unusual to have a break in the winter.

“On Sunday, some time around 3 p.m., they snapped at the joint above the conference room and the secretary’s anteroom,” Reterer said. “They kept going until the water was running into the street.”

They’d lost a sprinkler a week ago, so the Elks thought it was that again, but when firefighters arrived they found up to 2 feet of water inside.

At about 4:30 p.m. Sunday, East Fork Fire responded to the Kimmerling Road address in the Gardnerville Ranchyos for a report of a water leak, according to Battalion Chief Scott Fraser.

The first engine to arrive reported a large amount of water flowing from the building. The water supply to the building was immediately turned off.

Reterer said the water was coming in full force and the ceiling came down.

Fraser said further investigation found two sprinkler heads had broken and a pipe had frozen resulting in anywhere from 4 inches to 2 feet of water through the entire building.

Additional personnel were brought in to assist with removing the water and salvaging as much property as possible.

After the water was removed, a flood recovery company came in to assist with water damage and further repairs.

“The firefighters who came were total heroes,” Reterer said. “They were in there with 3-foot squeegees pushing the water out and pickup up trash.”

The Elks are still working out their recovery plan. Their meetings will be at the Douglas County Community & Senior Center, thanks to Community Services Director Scott Morgan, she said.

The Elks have several events coming up, including their person of the year celebration at the end of January and a crab feed on Feb. 13.

Reterer said they will have to find a place to hold those events.

There were no reported injuries.

“The district wants to remind the public about the dangers of frozen pipes and ensure all of your important paperwork is stored in a safe location,” Fraser said.