Cold Weather Blamed for Burst Water Pipes

Work on frozen sprinkler lead to flooding of Criminal Court Building at 26th and California

Chicago's big freeze was being blamed for a number of broken pipes and sprinkler systems that had cleanup crews working overtime and firefighters wading through knee-deep icy water.

The first of the big problems occurred Tuesday night at the Leighton Criminal Court Building, at West 26th Street and South California Avenue. Maintenance workers there noticed a frozen sprinkler at about 4 p.m. and decided it would be best to repair the unit after courts closed about an hour later, according to Kristen Mack, a spokeswoman for Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle.

"The workers turned off the fire pump in preparation for the repair," Mack said. "When they took the sprinkler head off they realized they didn’t completely turn off the pump. That’s when the flooding happened."

The downpour occurred just beyond the metal detectors near the entrance of the courthouse. There were no injuries, Mack added.

Workers stayed overnight to clean up the mess and make any needed repairs make repairs and make sure the building opened on time Wednesday.

"It will have no impact on court," said Mack. "It will be business as usual."

Hours later, a leak in a commercial building's fire system flooded the business and a portion of Pulaski Road in the city's northwest side Albany Park neighborhood.

The deluge, on the 4900 block of North Pulaski Road, was likely caused by icy weather conditions and frozen pipes, said Bill Bresnahan, managing deputy commissioner of the city’s Department of Water Management.

Firefighters, who at the scene could be seen wading through the knee-deep icy water, were able to gain access to the building and stop the leak, Bresnahan said.

As of 4 a.m., at least one lane of Pulaski remained closed to traffic between Argyle and Ainslie streets as Department of Streets and Sanitation salt-spreaders treated the ice that had formed, police said.

It was not immediately known how much damage the business sustained during the incident.

Crews at about 5 a.m. Wednesday were working to cleanup a watery mess and melt ice that formed at the Columbia Sportswear store on Chicago's Magnificent Mile.

The glass revolving doors of the store, at 830 N. Michigan Ave., were completely iced over after a frozen pipe burst inside the building overnight. The water appeared to be coming from an upper level of the building because it dripped down the structure and formed icicles and created an icy sidewalk outside.

Crews from the city's Department of Water Management said the break was likely weather-related.

A broken water main was also reported near the 4800 block of South Cicero Avenue during the Wednesday morning commute.

Weather conditions on Wednesday morning remained very cold but temperatures were finally in the single digits after sub-zero conditions gripped the metropolitan area for nearly two full days. 

On Tuesday, a broken water pipe limited access to a Chicago Transit Authority Red Line station.


Copyright CHIST - SunTimes
Contact Us