CLEVELAND (WJW) – The FOX 8 I-Team has uncovered how a severe winter storm caused damage at Hopkins Airport for an entire weekend with dozens of problems and emergencies piling up constantly.
It happened Christmas weekend, but new records just released to the I-Team show what happened.
We obtained a Hopkins Airport operations log. The records show how snow and extreme cold led to more than two dozen reports of damage.
Problems developed over more than two days and, in some cases, hour-after-hour.
One entry noted a “pipe has burst.” A half-hour later, a log entry noted a “boiler is out” in a building affecting de-icing operations.
We noticed, on Christmas Day, “United reports a water main break,” and in the old FAA tower, “multiple pipe leaks.”
On the same day, we saw “TSA reports sprinklers caused damage to their computers” and “Delta reports water is pouring into their area.”
We spoke to a Hopkins Airport worker who had been on duty and he remembered, “It was actually a disaster out there.’
In fact, a big chunk of ice even fell from an old tower through the roof of the terminal.
“At that time, it was all hands on deck. We were doing everything we can to prevent damage to equipment and the building itself,” the worker added.
Walk through the airport to catch a flight or grab your bags, you won’t see any signs of the storm damage. Most of it happened in areas the public never sees. Still, we wondered about fixing it and the cost to repair it.
“The way the team came together was really amazing,” Assistant Commissioner for Airport Operations Dejan Radosavljevic said.
Management credits workers with scrambling around-the-clock to keep the airport functional.
Cost of the damage is estimated at around $150,000, but most of the damage has been repaired.
Now, the focus is on trying to prevent this from happening again, especially protecting pipes in extreme cold weather.
So, we asked the assistant commissioner why so many problems developed in that one weekend.
“So, I mean, there’s several factors, he said. “We went through the events and we documented and found some areas that we can improve on. Proactiveness. So, we’ve instituted those.”
That worker we spoke with won’t be surprised if the airport finds itself in the middle of another severe winter weather event.
“With the next cold snap, we don’t know what could happen. This is going to happen again,” he added.
The airport says the repairs have largely been carried out by employees on staff without having to file an insurance claim or hire a lot of outside contractors.