Frozen sprinkler pipes burst and flooded buildings across Oak Ridge on Tuesday as a frigid arctic air mass lingered over parts of the central and eastern United States.
Oak Ridge firefighters said it’s likely there will be more calls on Wednesday as temperatures rise and frozen pipes thaw.
Late Tuesday afternoon, Oak Ridge Fire Department Chief Darryl Kerley provided a list of buildings where frozen sprinkler systems had burst. They included St. Mary’s School, the back side of the Staples building, a building at the Pine Ridge office complex, Centennial Village Apartments, a U.S. Department of Energy building on Laboratory Road, UBS Financial on East Tennessee Avenue, Weatherford Mortuary, Courtyards at Briarcliff, and Heritage Fellowship on North Illinois Avenue.
Kerley said St. Mary’s has canceled Wednesday classes. Children at the Heritage Fellowship nursery were evacuated Tuesday afternoon and taken upstairs, where a few parents said they picked up their kids early.
Besides the broken sprinkler systems, there was also a gas stove fire on Stonebridge Way on Tuesday, Kerley said.
There were also broken water mains. The biggest was on North Illinois Avenue at West Outer Drive.
The arctic air has brought dangerously low temperatures and, in some cases, life-threatening wind chills to parts of the central and eastern United States. Wind chill advisories are in effect for much of the eastern two-thirds of the nation with wind chill values as low as -20 to -50 degrees Fahrenheit possible, the National Weather Service in Morristown said.
Temperatures are expected to start climbing Wednesday.
The forecast calls for a low of 10 degrees Fahrenheit near Oak Ridge on Tuesday night, with a high of 36 on Wednesday and a low of 20 on Wednesday night.