Ruptures in Water Pipes Make Life Miserable for El Pasoans

Thursday, February 3, 2011 - 10:27pm

EL PASO- Bitterly cold temperatures have brought on a new consequence today.  Busted water pipes in houses across the county have wreaked havoc all day long.

It happens because the water inside what are usually small copper pipes freezes.  The ice expands, breaking open the pipes, and adding insult to injury for many El Pasoans already dealing with the cold.

Joe Hendrigsman dumps out about a gallon of water, but he has a long way to go.  A copper water pipe in his wall burst this morning, thanks to single digit temperatures.

"I got a call this afternoon about one o'clock and my neighbor called and said the pipes broke in my house. So I was in Las Cruces, came home, and I got home to find about 3 or 4 inches of water sitting in the downstairs," Hendrigsman said.

But it wasn't just Joe's house that was affected by the busted water pipes.  Houses up and down Thunder Bluff place were affected as well.

Just across the street, a house's carpet was soaking wet.  Neighbors say with demand so high, they've had to wait hours for plumbers to show up, if they even showed up at all.

"The whole floor was flooded and we had to get the machines to come clean it up because it was all flooded," said Satrianni Vega, whose Dad owns the house.

Satrianni Vega got out of the shower this morning to find a pool of water in the living room of his Dad's house. He and a few friends piled up all the furniture, and went outside.

"Our neighbors came over here and told us to turn off the water," he said.

So they did, going house to house and shutting off the water.  Their services could have been useful elsewhere too. 

Out in Fabens, we found an apartment whose ceiling was caved in by a busted pipe, leaving the owners to find another place to live.

Back on Thunder Bluff, Joe Hendrigsman rented a couple of carpet cleaners to tackle his mess.

He said it's working, but very slowly.

A tip to keep your pipes from breaking open; let them drip through the night.  Although you won't waste much water, the constant flow will keep the water from freezing, and keep your home nice and dry.

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