Frozen pipes close child center in Hammond

HAMMOND, LA (WVUE) - The hard freeze forced the closure of a building serving children in need in Hammond  Wednesday.

The office in the heart of town was among dozens dealing with frozen pipes, and tonight will be even colder.

"We had a staff member say they felt a mist, and I said 'a mist isn't good,'" said center director Rob Carlisle.

As it turned out, water was streaming from a pipe beneath the Child Advocacy Center and it had to be shut down. And getting a plumber was no easy task.

"It's been difficult. We contacted five this morning," said Carlisle.

Ed Dimaggio arrived at midday. He and his team are among a group of North Shore plumbers who have never been busier.

"It's gonna be a rough week," said Dimaggio.

After poking and prodding for 30 minutes, plumbers found that frozen water caused a pipe connecting joint, called a dresser coupling to blow out. Though this is a tough repair, the Hammond child advocacy operator said they may have gotten lucky because the problem pipe is right  in the corner and there aren't pipes running beneath the home.

"Fortunately it happened 10 feet from the shutoff at an accessible location," said Carlisle.

In this case, the pipe beneath the advocacy center is made from galvanized steel. Plumbers say the steel pipe may be slightly better than PVC, but they can both crack in cold weather. They recommend taking precautions now, especially if you live in a raised home.

"If they can skirt it, they should do that, and when the summer gets here, take off the skirting," said Dimaggio.

Carlisle was happy to get a plumber today and get the center back in operation.

"What makes me more nervous is knowing we have more freezing, and I want to make  sure I'm doing what I need to do - what's right preventatively,"said Carlisle.

He is now looking into putting in protective skirting around the raised portion of the house, on a limited budget.

Plumber Ed  Dimaggio says it is a good idea to keep a pencil lead stream of hot and cold water running in your house tonight.

Though he will be working on mostly steel and PVC pipe problems for the next several days he says there is a pipe called pex that is very effective in resisting freezing.

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