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Harford Day School, St. Patrick Hall flooded as pipes burst

As temperatures struggled to rise Monday, a Bel Air private school and a Havre de Grace Church hall were among the Harford County buildings that experienced flooding from bursting pipes in the unusually frigid weather.

The fieldhouse at Harford Day School experienced some flooding Monday because of a fire sprinkler rupture, Harford County Volunteer Fire & EMS Association spokesperson Rich Gardiner said.

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The building was not seriously damaged, however, and the water inside was mostly from boot prints, Head of School Gray Smith said Tuesday.

"Most of the water flow, thankfully, was outside, as you can see in the video," Smith said, referring to a video that was posted by a member of the Bel Air Volunteer Fire Company on the company's Facebook page.

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HDS Facilities Manager Gary Miller was on scene and immediately shut the water off, Smith said.

"It was all under control," he said. "It is contained completely."

The school was closed Monday for the President's Day holiday and again Tuesday because of the overnight snow, Smith said. He said he was hoping to reopen on Wednesday, but that would depend on the weather.

The hall at St. Patrick Church, on Pennington Avenue in Havre de Grace, flooded after pipes burst around 4:30 p.m. Monday, Susquehanna Hose Company of Havre de Grace Chief Scott Hurst said Tuesday.

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A water main break also occurred in downtown Aberdeen Monday morning.

At Harford Day, both the video and photo posted on the BAVFC's Facebook page showed streams of water pouring down the roof and walls of the building, which is off Moores Mill Road.

Gardiner said similar breaks and subsequent flooding had been occurring throughout Harford County during previous 72 hours of low temperatures that hit the area Friday afternoon.

"All these broken water pipes are definitely weather-related," Gardiner said. "The county has been seeing a lot of broken water pipes."

Temperatures remained below 20 degrees Monday, with wind chills well below zero through Sunday and Monday morning. Following the overnight snow Monday into Tuesday morning, the temperature in downtown Bel Air at 4 p.m. Tuesday was 27 degrees.

Downtown Aberdeen businesses were without water Monday as city officials worked on a break on a 4-inch main on Walnut Lane and Parke Street, near City Hall, public works director Kyle Torster said from the scene.

The break was reported at 8:30 a.m. and crews had repaired it as of about 1:30 p.m., Torster said.

He did not know exactly how many businesses or homes were affected, or if City Hall, which was closed Monday, was out of water.

St. Patrick Hall sustained water damage as a result of the burst pipe, Susquehanna Hose's Hurst said.

"There was some very moderate damage to the ceiling, the floors, the carpet and the entire building, unfortunately," he said. "I believe the same thing happened to them last year."

"We shut the water off, tried to squeegee off as much as we could," he said.

The parish has a clean-up contractor on site, Archdiocese of Baltimore spokesperson Sean Caine said. The water main in the hall's foyer broke, he explained.

"A plumber is being contacted to repair the water line and place it at a lower elevation to prevent reoccurrence," Caine added.

Hurst said the region has experienced numerous water pipes bursting, causing property damage and headaches for owners. He urged residents to keep their houses warm, as well as any outdoor pipes.

"We probably ran six [calls for pipes] in the last three days. We expect to see more over the next few days," he said. "That is a problem we are having."

"For a lot of these outdoor condominiums, they have a heater outside and their pipes are bursting," Hurst continued. "If you have utilities outside, definitely keep an eye on it."

"It's unfortunate, because you see tens of thousands of dollars in damage from this. It's that time of the year, for sure," he said.

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