Deep Freeze Causing Pipe Problems, Flooding

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AKRON, Ohio -- Tuesday's deep freeze has left restoration companies, insurance adjusters and plumbers from across northeast Ohio responding to an overwhelming number of calls because of ruptured water pipes.

With the thaw on Friday, the calls continued.

"It's the worst that I have ever seen in my lifetime, and I've been in some pretty bad situations," said Mike White, of Veterans Carpet and Tile Cleaning. "I've been down in Texas during hurricane Rita, and it reminds me of that the amount of flooding. It's just a different type of water."

White's company was cleaning up in one Akron area apartment complex where he said as many as 50 apartment units were flooded.

They are not alone.

"We take care of about 1,200 apartments in the area, and what we are finding is no matter what complex you are at we are getting pipes that are breaking," said White, who has been working as long as 18 hour days since Monday.

Pipes also ruptured in numerous homes and businesses.

Scott Sella arrived at his business in Akron early Thursday to find the windows fogged and water dripping from his ceiling.

"It was just dripping, water was just dripping pretty much everywhere --flowing in some spots, dripping in others," said Sella.

The water was working its way through the ceiling and walls from an apartment upstairs.

Scott Waite, of service master in Akron, a restoration company, said normally he expects to get to customers within two hours of their first call.

With the volume of calls to his company from this week's freeze, he was forced to put people on waiting lists Friday.

"We're seeing everything. I mean dry wall damage, flooring damage, cabinet damage, because if it's in the kitchen its taking out the cabinets its taking out the kitchen all the flooring all the walls, and it's real bad if the water pipes are above because now everything above is going to come down," said service master technician Brad Prete.

"The insurance companies are understanding that we are all responding as quickly and as appropriately as we can, but you know there is just so much volume of damage right now that it is difficult for us to get there quickly," said Waite.

"We are giving customers advice on what they can to try and mitigate themselves and be ready at least waiting for us to come and at least start the drying process," he added.