'It was like a waterfall'

Derek Montague
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Pipe bursts at Sheshatshiu Innu School, sending kids on early Christmas break

The front entrance to the Sheshatshiu Innu School is undergoing repairs after a frozen pipe burst, flooding part of the school.

Children who attend the Sheshatshiu Innu School had to start their Christmas holidays a day early this year, thanks to a busted water pipe that flooded a portion of the school.

The incident occurred yesterday afternoon around lunch hour. A teacher had just walked through the front door, when she witnessed a pipe burst overhead.

“One of our teachers…was the last one who walked in and she saw it happen, heard it happen; pretty panicky moment,” says SIS Principal Clarence Davis.

“It was like a waterfall.  I guess the pipe must have broke and than built up for a little bit and finally the pressure gave out…”

Luckily no one was standing directly underneath the pipe when it burst, and no one was injured afterwards. But school officials had to act quickly. The kids would soon be entering the school for afternoon classes. It was important to keep them outside so they wouldn’t get hurt.

“Obviously, we couldn’t let the kids in,” says Davis. “Our buses we’re showing up at that time as well…someone could slip and fall we were worried about electrical damage…”

“I spoke to one of the fireman yesterday. We saw a lot of smoke, but we think it’s from the pot light that was up in the ceiling at the time, and they checked it out afterwards and everything’s fine.”

Davis believes that a broken heater caused the pipe to freeze. And, With the high water pressure in that area, it didn’t take long for the pipe to burst open.

“It’s very, very, cold out and there’s a heater out in the main foyer area that was broken that we were waiting to get fixed…it doesn’t take too long (to freeze) when the temperature is that cold,” says Davis.

“So while we were waiting for the heater to get fixed, the pipe above the main entrance froze; down comes the water.”

According to Davis, the water spread through the main entrance, front office, and part of the primary wing. But most of the damage was caused in the main entrance, which was undergoing repairs this morning.

“I call it shock…you don’t walk into the front door of a school everyday and see a waterfall,” says Davis. “It was shocking, I think I was walking around a bit dazed for quite a while.”

“We were lucky really, people got here quickly. We limited the damage I think.”

The afternoon classes had to be cancelled. The children were also supposed to have a festive half-day of school this morning, but that had to be called off as well.

“Kid are disappointed too, because we had a lot of year end Christmas activities, and all that scheduled,” says Davis.

But Davis is hopeful that steps will soon be taken to prevent pipes from freezing in future winters.

“Our board has already scheduled to bring in some experts in the spring to set up more insulation… and hopefully prevent this from ever happening again.”

Organizations: Sheshatshiu Innu School

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  • willie wonka
    December 20, 2013 - 15:46

    I guess that is what happens when basic maintenance is so neglected. Penny wise---dollar foolish aren't THEY!