Churches, schools dealing with frozen pipes bursting

Churches, schools dealing with bursting pipes

LAWTON, Okla. (TNN) - Several churches and schools are dealing with the aftermath of the winter storms. Bursting pipes have caused damage to homes, businesses, classrooms and church sanctuaries across Southwest Oklahoma.

Walking the halls of First Baptist Church in Lawton, Pastor Mike Keahbone surveys damage.

At about 1:30 a.m. on Tuesday, he woke up to a phone call about an emergency at the church. Water was pouring from the roof and down the walls.

“I was relieved to find out that it was the building because buildings can be fixed and replaced, not so much with people,” Keahbone said. “This is significant, but this is fixable.”

Firefighters got there to find a massive leak coming out of a wall in the recreational area and entering the ventilation system.

In the main sanctuary, a pipe in the attic burst, leaking into the organ chamber. It led to volunteers looking through old photos, taking a trip down memory lane and reminding them just how blessed they are.

“It was haunting and surreal to look at that building because the photo is a huge picture and the building is on fire,” Keahbone said. “Just imagining the hopelessness in that moment of people who were watching and not being able to do anything about it, but then it was also a blessing to look on the other side and see the sanctuary that we have now.”

Lawton Public Schools is dealing with five schools flooding from burst pipes. MacArthur Middle School, Freedom Elementary and Edison Elementary are the most major cases.

Superintendent Kevin Hime said he doesn’t want parents and students to worry right now.

“We’ve got Virtual Days right now, but if people have got flooding and issues at their home, hey, we’ll make it up later,” Hime said. “Take care of family first. We’re telling our staff that and our families. We can make up this work later.”

LPS students will be having Virtual Days until next Tuesday, Feb. 23.

Monday was already scheduled to be a Virtual Day for all students because it’s the first day LPS teachers and staff get vaccinated at a POD at Lawton High School.

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