Staff at Freedom Church Owasso is recovering after a frozen water pipe burst and flooded the premises earlier last week.
The incident occurred sometime between late Monday night and early Tuesday morning during this week’s winter storms that brought record low temperatures to the area.
Pastor Andrew Rankin said a frozen pipe in the church’s kitchen pantry apparently burst overnight, spreading hundreds of gallons of water throughout the Family Life Center, where the church’s services and activities are held.
“It probably covered at least a third of the first floor,” Rankin said. “Some of that water traveled 150, 170, 80 feet; it was a long way across the building … it was under ever wall. There literally was an inch to an inch-and-a-half deep in spots.”
Owasso fire crews responded to an alert triggered by the burst pipe that morning, and showed up to help Rankin and over a dozen other church volunteers clean up the water.
“The Owasso Fire Department were just champions,” Rankin said. “They stayed with us at least an hour-in-a-half, probably two hours, just sweeping and squeegeeing water across the building and down some drains … they put some effort into that, that was a big deal.”
Water permeated a large portion of the church’s gymnasium, where services are held, as well as the bathrooms, hallways and storage closets, in addition to the foyer, which recently underwent a major overhaul.
“We had just finished renovating our foyer this year, last spring and summer, and so it was looking really nice,” Rankin said. “That was kind of the shock for us. We hope that … we don’t have to start all over.”
What’s more, another pipe burst in Rankin’s office on Thursday after crews repaired the first leak.
“When they turned the water back on, I was just sitting at my desk and heard a spraying sound,” he said, “and then all of a sudden I looked over and saw it (water) coming out of the baseboards, and I sprinted down the hall.”
Staff at the church has moved all furniture and supplies into the gym as the water continues to drain and dry throughout the building. They will still hold a virtual service on Sunday morning.
Rankin said despite the incident, he is still thankful that the inclement weather did not lead to a more serious or life-threatening accident.
“I’m not worked up, angry or anything,” he said. “This stuff happens, and let’s deal with it and keep moving; nobody was hurt … it’s all good.”
Rankin expects that much of the damage will be covered through insurance.