The company that installed the fire sprinklers at Neligh-Oakdale warned the Board of Education in April 2015 that the corridor must "be kept above 40 degrees."
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.
The ACN asked school Superintendent Scott Gregory on Sunday morning about the temperature guidelines for the pipe, as well as why the walkway was not enclosed prior to installing the outside pipeline.
Gregory, who began his role with the district in July 2016, said he would provide an update later in the day on the sprinkler issue.
Gregory said 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 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, the company that 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.
The Neligh Fire Department responded to the call Sunday morning. 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.
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