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Frozen water pipes break, force schools to close

By Liz Kilmer, Reporter, LKilmer@wfmz.com
Published On: Jan 08 2014 03:21:06 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 08 2014 04:44:16 PM CST

The blistering cold continues to cause problems for schools across the region.

ST. LAWRENCE, Pa. -

The blistering cold continues to cause problems for schools across the region.

Several schools were forced to dismiss early or close yet again Wednesday after frozen pipes burst throughout buildings.

Workers at the Community UCC Preschool in St. Lawrence, Berks Co., said classes were in session when a frozen pipe burst in the ceiling, sending students home immediately.

"We heard a little bit of a banging, and the pipes here in the foyer, the water started coming down," said Dawn Barzd, Community UCC Preschool. 

Barzd was working in the preschool's main office on the lower level of the church on St. Lawrence Avenue when the pipe burst. She and others rushed to turn off the water.

"And we have over 100 little kids here who need to use the bathroom, so we needed to close the school immediately, and we closed the PM classes, as well," Barzd said.

The preschool called in plumber Ryan Reifsnyder, who said it was one of many calls he's received this week for freeze-ups.

"If you're lucky enough, it freezes and it doesn't burst, you know, if you're lucky," Reifsnyder said. "But as far as once they split from the pressure of the ice expanding, like I said, once it thaws out, it's going to leak."

It was the same problem discovered in two different classrooms at the Riverview Christian Early Learning Center on Stoudts Ferry Bridge Road in Muhlenberg Township early Wednesday, forcing the Rev. John Letterman to call off school.

"It's an unfortunate incident, but there's really nothing we could do," Letterman said.

It's a burden that he said not only hits the school hard financially but serves as an inconvenience for staff, students and their families.

"I just feel bad for the parents, and hopefully we can get everything straightened out and put everything back together for tomorrow," Letterman said.

Both Riverview and Community UCC are scheduled to reopen their doors to students on Thursday.