May 12 2020

Burst Pipe Causes Flooding in BHS Wooden Gym and Other Athletic Facilities

By: Rich Hosford

It was a lucky turn of events that Burlington High School Principal Mark Sullivan had to swing by the school on Saturday to grab something from his office otherwise water damage from a broken pipe in the building’s HVAC system could have been a lot worse. 


“I heard a lot of commotion,” Sullivan said of when he entered the school. “I could tell it was water and when I went to look it was coming down the gym stairs.” 


Sullivan said a pipe that appeared connected to the HVAC system on the roof had burst and was leaking into the bottom portion of the school where the gyms and locker rooms are located. He said the majority of the water ended up in the wooden gym but also spread to the wrestling room, the girls locker room and the fitness room. 


This turned a quick stop at the school into a days-long ordeal as he contacted the necessary people to come and help clean up. 


“I planned to be here for 20 minutes and it turned into six hours,” he said. 


The response, however, was professional. Sullivan said the custodial and maintenance crews were there quickly to turn off the water and get as much of the water as they could removed. 


“They were great,” he said. “It was all hands on deck. They are always good.” 


Since the initial cleaning a remediation company has been on scene running anti-humidifiers. Sullivan said that will likely continue for a few weeks at which point they will be able to call in the school’s insurance company to do an assessment of the damage. 


“The extent of the damage is still to be determined and it will take a couple of weeks,” he said. “At that point we’ll see what is salvageable and what needs to be replaced. It was a messy situation and unfortunately the wooden floor got the most of it.”  


Finally, Sullivan said the problem appears to be with the HVAC system which has been a long-standing issue that they have petitioned the state to help fund a replacement for multiple times. 


“It’s an old building and this is an indication that things need to be updated,” he said. “We’ve been talking about that HVAC system and the need to have it updated so this might be just another example of that.”


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