Public Safety

Burst pipes shut down two downtown buildings Friday morning

The Cedar Rapids Transportation Station and the APAC building Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2003, in southeast Cedar Rapids.
The Cedar Rapids Transportation Station and the APAC building Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2003, in southeast Cedar Rapids.

Burst pipes set off alarms and shut down two downtown Cedar Rapids buildings Friday morning.

According to the Cedar Rapids Fire Department, firefighters responded to the APAC building at 425 Second St. SE and the Ground Transportation Center at 150 Transit Way SE for water flow alarms at approximately 8:21 a.m. Friday.

When they arrived, firefighters found that water pipes for the sprinkler systems in both buildings had broken and water was flowing out of the pipes.

At the Ground Transportation Center, the fire department said a pipe burst causing water damage on the main level. At the APAC building, the breach was at an elbow on one of the pipes on the second floor in the dining room area of Prairie Soup Company, the department said.

Water was flowing out of the pipes and through the ceiling, the fire department said. Water also was coming out of electrical outlets, so crews cut power to the building.

The building was evacuated for safety, the fire department said, and maintenance personnel and contractors were on hand for repairs.

The recent frigid temperatures likely caused the pipes to freeze, said Cedar Rapids Public Safety spokesperson Greg Buelow.

“Water molecules expand as they freeze,” he said in a news release. “Water pipes burst because the water inside them expands as it gets close to freezing, and this causes an increase in pressure inside the pipe. When the pressure gets too high for the pipe to contain, it ruptures.”

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Additionally, Buelow said firefighters fielded two other significant incidents of water damage Thursday. The first was at Geneva Tower, 310 Fifth Ave. SE, where a water pipe burst Thursday morning. The second incident caused significant water damage at the Verizon building, 500 Second Ave. SE, on Thursday afternoon.

• Comments: (319) 398-8238; kat.russell@thegazette.com

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