Water pipe bursts at YEMS, gym floor and more damaged

A water pipe burst Tuesday evening at Youngsville Elementary Middle School and flooded the gymnasium, lobby and music room with nearly two inches of water, possibly leaving the gymnasium with extensive water damage.

A YEMS custodian found water pouring from the pipe in the ceiling near the entrance of the gymnasium at about 5 a.m. Wednesday.

Dr. Norbert Kennerknecht, director of buildings and grounds for the Warren County School District, said a louver malfunction allowed cold air to freeze the pipe that broke in half.

The district’s insurance company was contacted immediately. “We’re in contact with the insurance company and we’re awaiting their directions,” Kennerknecht said.

“By the time I got ready and came over, the maintenance and grounds gentlemen were down here,” YEMS Principal Eric Mineweaser said. “They did a nice job getting everything cleaned up prior to the start of the school day.”

Luckily students were on a two-hour delay on Wednesday and were not in the building.

Nearly two inches of water had pooled in the lobby, main office and music room, but the school followed the protocol for such emergencies, Mineweaser said.

The water was shut off and band students were later moved to the stage in the gymnasium, choir students are singing in Cafeteria B, and students have been doing activities in the lobby until the damage and future use of the gymnasium can be assessed.

“We had to make some adjustments,” Mineweaser said, adding the concern in the gymnasium is the extensive amount of water that went onto the floor and underneath the floor boards.

The floor panels in the gymnasium were visibly warped Wednesday morning, he said.

Servpro of Erie was called into assess the gymnasium floor and its crew placed a white tarp over half the gymnasium with fans, which have been blowing under the tarp since Wednesday.

“It’s a big dehumidifier is what it is,” Mineweaser said. “It’s still tented off. If that doesn’t work, I don’t know what will happen. They’re going to definitely going to have to assess that.”

“The teachers and the kids have been very flexible,” he added.