LIMA — St. Charles Catholic School was temporarily closed Wednesday after a broken water pipe flooded hallways, rooms and the basement. The pipe, located in a boys’ restroom, burst late Tuesday evening and, according to principal Jan Dornick, could have been much worse.
“We had a maintenance person that discovered the leak at about 2 this morning,” she said. “He comes in to clean the church, and he does one part of the school. We were very lucky because we wouldn’t have had another maintenance person come in until 6 a.m.”
Even though the break was found quickly, a lot of water was pumped into the school.
“It wasn’t a trickle,” Dornick said. “It was a big amount of water. When I got here at 2:30 this morning, there were about 4 to 5 inches in our hallways and cafeteria, and all of that was flowing down the stairways.”
Dornick was grateful that crews were able to remove the water relatively quickly.
“Once the plumber got here, changed the pipe and turned the water back on, Master Maintenance was here and they were able to clear everything out really fast,” she said. “They started at about 3 or 3:30 this morning, and we’re very grateful to that group. They had a whole crew here, and they were able to get that water down relatively quick.”
As fast as the cleanup took place, the incident still prompted a two-hour delay for St. Charles pupils.
“The rooms that were damaged the most were in the basement, where our music and art classes are,” Dornick said. “Other than that, we have a lot of fans going in our carpeted rooms, which are our library and computer lab. All the students were able to attend classes, except that they were not able to go in the music room or the art room. We just wanted them to stay off the carpet until it dried. All of the homeroom classes were fine.”
School officials are still taking inventory of the damage.
“Papers and materials for teachers, as well as some personal items, were most of what was damaged,” Dornick said. “We’re worried about a couple of computers. Our keyboard lab was totally inundated with water, so we’re guessing that our keyboards may not be working so well. We’re not even going to turn those on until tomorrow.”
Structurally, Dornick was thankful that the damage was not more extensive.
“We were very blessed,” she said. “We lost a lot of ceiling tiles, but we didn’t lose the steel mountings for them. If the water had continued until 6, that whole structure would have come down.”