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Sprinkler pipe bursts at Hinsdale Middle School

Standing in the classroom with the most damage, Hinsdale Middle School Principal Ruben Pena talks with workmen from ACR who are cleaning up all the water that was spilled from a burst water sprinkler pipe. | Jon Langham/For Sun-Times Media
Workmen from ACR pull a section of lockers away from the wall to allow circulating air to dry out behind them after a sprinkler pipe burst and spilled water through several areas of Hinsdale Middle School. | Jon Langham/For Sun-Times Media

Hinsdale Middle School Principal Ruben Pena is looking at the bright side of things after the bursting of a water pipe Saturday night at the school affected five classrooms and the library.

“It could have been a lot worse,” Pena said Monday afternoon after meeting with insurance adjusters about the incident. “Within a few hours, we went from the pipe bursting to being in the building and starting the process of removing the water.”

The pipe that burst, which happened because of cold weather, was part of the building’s sprinkler system and was located in a third-floor storage room off the gym, Pena said.

“Because it was hooked up to the sprinkler system, the fire alarm went off,” he said. “The Fire Department responded, and once they confirmed there was no fire, they contacted our buildings and grounds people.”

A water mitigation company was at HMS by within hours to begin removing the water.

Five classrooms on the first and second floors received water damage from the pipe that burst, as did the school’s library.

“The water basically followed gravity and went straight down,” Pena said. “It traveled around the floor of the classrooms.”

Pena said there was no damage to books in the library, but added some bookshelves might have to be replaced. One of the science classrooms was hit the worst.

“That classroom will be unusable for a while; I’m not sure, yet, for how long,” Pena said. “We’ve already had teachers say we can use their classrooms during various periods for the classes scheduled for that room, until it’s ready for use again.”

Pena said he doesn’t yet know the full extent of all damage caused by the water, or the cost of fixing/replacing things that were damaged

“We’ll have to see how some things look after they dry out,” he said. “You don’t always know how much damage there is until everything has dried.”

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