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Frozen pipes lead to indoor ice storms

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Updated: January 8, 2014 8:40AM



Frozen pipes led to icy conditions across the city — indoors — including at the Leighton Criminal Court Building.

About one inch of water poured into the courthouse at 26th and California, after maintenance workers attempted to remove a frozen sprinkler system, said Kristen Mack, spokeswoman for Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle.

Workers noticed the frozen sprinkler about 4 p.m. and decided it would be best to repair the unit after courts closed about an hour later, Mack said.

“The workers turned off the fire pump in preparation for the repair,” Mack said. “When they took the sprinkler head off they realized they didn’t completely turn off the pump. That’s when the flooding happened.”

The downpour occurred just beyond the metal detectors near the entrance of the courthouse. There were no injuries, Mack added.

Workers will stay overnight to make repairs if needed to make sure the building will open at its normal time Wednesday, Mack said.

“It will have no impact on court,” she said. “It will be business as usual.”

In Albany Park, a commercial building’s sprinkler system burst about 10:40 p.m., sending water pouring into the 4900 block of North Pulaski.

Firefighters, wading through the knee-deep icy water, were able to gain access to the building and stop the leak, said Bill Bresnahan, managing deputy commissioner of the city’s Department of Water Management.

As of 4 a.m., at least one lane of Pulaski remained closed to traffic between Argyle and Ainslie streets as Department of Streets and Sanitation salt-spreaders treated the ice that had formed, police said.

The sprinkler system also burst and caused flooding at the Columbia Sportswear store, at 830 N. Michigan., on the Magnificent Mile early Wednesday, Bresnahan said.

Salt-spreaders were at the scene, but it was not immediately known whether that incident resulted in any road or sidewalk closures.

Both leaks were likely caused by icy weather conditions and frozen pipes, Bresnahan said. The National Weather Service reported temperatures hit 6 degrees below zero in the Chicago area overnight.

It was not immediately known how much damage either business sustained during the incidents.



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