While most Utah County residents battled snow during last weekend's heavy storm, a few locals were called to work to handle unexpected "showers."
The bitter temperatures damaged sprinkler systems of the Orem City Center and several businesses, resulting in indoor floods."The preliminary estimate is there's about $25,000 in damage to the city center," Dean Nickels, Orem city treasurer, said Monday.
"On Sunday, a 2-inch sprinkler pipe in the outside foyer broke and most of the south side of the building was flooded. Personnel, a conference room and the treasurer's department got wet, and accounting, the police department and data processing in the basement were all soaked."
Nickels said Orem will have to replace a lot of carpet and some ceiling tiles and wood paneling. Some paper records were damaged, he said, but might be salvageable.
"We are not sure about damage to equipment. We may have lost some printers, but for the most part, the things damaged are easily replaceable."
Fire department crews were able to cover the mainframe computer - worth $200,000 - with a tarp before it was damaged.
"It will probably take a week or two to get everything fixed, but we expect to be open for business by tomorrow," Nickels said Monday. "Most of the employees are cleaning and sorting now. There is not too much productive (business) work going on today."
Orem officials hope insurance will cover the losses, but their insurance company has not yet confirmed it will pay.
A new manager was on duty when the sprinkler system at Osco Drugs, Orem, broke.
"It was Sunday at 2 p.m., and the new manager didn't know where the shut-off valve was. He had to watch the water run for 15 or 20 minutes while he tried to call someone to ask," Mika Brenay, another manager, said.
The cleanup took six workers six hours, Brenay said, but only "a couple thousand" dollars worth of damage was done. Brenay said, with some pride, that the store never closed, although the new manager was a bit shaken.
"Not a very nice welcome to your new job," Brenay said.
Damage was minor at ZCMI.
"We got lucky," Neil Larsen, assistant manager, said. "All that broke was the sprinkler pipe in one display window, and most of the water ran out of the store."
Some carpet got wet and one dress was damaged in the Sunday incident, he said. He estimated damage at about $300.
WordPerfect got lucky too.
"When the fire sprinkler froze up, the Orem city police came, thinking it was a fire," Beth McGill, company spokeswoman, said. "The pipe was repaired pretty fast, and fans are drying out the carpet. No equipment was damaged."
McGill said the cold temperatures have also slowed construction on WordPerfect's new cafeteria building.
"Workers can only be outside for about an hour at a time. The temperatures would hurt them if they stayed longer."
Bruce Chesnut, manager of Orem's water/wastewater division, said his office got 53 calls on Sunday from residents whose pipes had frozen. About 80 percent of damage occurred between the meter and house, he estimated. Owners will have to pay for repairs themselves. Orem will repair damage between the meter and the water main.
Chesnut suggests residents leave a small stream of water running in one sink."I've never seen running water freeze," he said.
While running water in the sink may save most plumbing, it will not protect sprinkler systems, said Ron Mosher, Orem fire chief.
"The water in those pipes is just sitting there and will freeze quite easily," he said. "That water never flows unless there is an emergency."
Mosher said people with sprinkler systems exposed to low temperatures should wrap pipes in heat tape or take other measures to keep them warm.