Weather Causes Dozens of Broken Water Pipes

Greenwich firefighters continue to respond to numerous reports of broken water pipes.

Greenwich Fire Department. Photo credit: Barbara Heins.
Greenwich Fire Department. Photo credit: Barbara Heins.

The polar vortex that enveloped the country with near zero temperatures and Arctic winds earlier this week are being blamed for dozens of broken water pipes and indoor sprinkler systems.

According to Greenwich fire officials, the unusually cold weather caused the pipes to rupture.

"We've had close to 70 reports since last Friday (Jan. 3), with most on Saturday, Sunday and Monday," said Greenwich Fire Marshal Jim McDonald. He predicted that as the weather warms this weekend, there will be more reports of pipes breaking. "With the extreme cold, we're seeing pipes break that normally wouldn't," McDonald explained.

Deputy Greenwich Fire Chief Tom Nixon said that by Thursday afternoon his squad had responded to five calls for broken pipes. "Some have caused significant damage," Nixon said. In many instances the fire marshal's office and town building inspectors are called to the scene because of the damage caused by leaking water, Nixon said. 

Over the weekend, firefighters were summoned to Greenwich Hospital where a pipe broke in the facility's main entry way, as well as the Town Hall Annex housing complex, and the Milbrook Club.

According to Nixon and McDonald, a sprinkler system pipe in the attic of the private club broke, sending water leaking through the ceilings of the building's lower levels, "causing significant damage to the internal ceilings."

For tips on preventing frozen pipes, here is some advice from the Red Cross.


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