A frozen stream of water can be seen coming from Neligh-Oakdale thanks to a broken fire sprinkler line that froze overnight as temperatures fell to negative 25 degrees.
Workers from Ahern, who installed the fire sprinklers, were on site mid-morning to repair the broken pipe, which was located near the middle of the outdoor walkway from East Ward elementary and the band room.
Temperatures in Neligh on Sunday morning dipped to negative 25 degrees. It is unknown what the temperature was in the area that housed the pipe or what temperature the heat sensors read Sunday morning. The walkway itself is open at both ends with uninsulated walls and a roof.
During the April 16, 2015, special meeting of the Board of Education, Ahern was one of three companies vying for the sprinkler bid. At that time, Ahern officials informed the Board of Education that precautions needed to take place in ensure the pipes did not freeze.
“That is something that has to be kept above 40 degrees. Forty degrees is freezing for our company," the Ahern official said. (Video here at 1:10)
Board members nodded their heads in agreement after hearing that statement.
It is unclear what precautions were taken to ensure the pipes did not freeze. Heat tape is commonly used with such piping.
There was no water damage to the interior of the school. The only affected area was the partially covered walkway from the school to the band room.
According to Superintendent Scott Gregory, at about 4:35 a.m., the fire alarm system went off due to a frozen sprinkler pipe in the outside walkway leading to the band room.
There were several people at the school when the issue occured due to a planned sleepover with the local Cub Scouts. Gregory said scouts were sent home with parents in attendance. Those without parents present, were relocated to the superintendent's home next to the school with scout leaders.
"A determination regarding the school day tomorrow will be made later today or tonight and will be shared via media, as well as the school's 'all call' system," he said.
The Neligh Fire Department responded to the call Sunday morning.
"A special thank you to Neligh Fire Department Chief Mike Mortensen, the dispatch staff at Antelope County Law Enforcement Center, as well as Neligh-Oakdale Public Schools maintenance employee Lloyd Meis, for their help in handling this situation," Gregory said.