Frozen pipes cause evacuation of Wick Tower Suites in downtown Youngstown


YOUNGSTOWN

Residents spent their second night Wednesday in local hotels while frozen pipes in their upscale Wick Tower Suites apartments in downtown Youngstown are repaired to the satisfaction of the Youngstown Fire Department.

Fire Chief John J. O’Neill said it was necessary to evacuate the residents Tuesday because the frozen pipes incapacitated the building’s sprinkler system and the interior standpipes to which firefighters attach their hoses for fighting fires on upper floors.

The frozen water caused the pipes to burst up through the third floor of the apartment complex at 34 W. Federal St.

O’Neill said the department was first notified of the problem at about 3:30 p.m. Tuesday by the fire suppression company when just one pipe had burst. However, the company called again at about 7:30 p.m. to notify the fire department that the system was frozen from the basement to the third floor of the 13-story structure, the chief said.

O’Neill said someone had ripped out large windows on the Wick Towers first floor and covered the holes with plywood, but without insulation.

“It was pretty irresponsible of a lot of people,” O’Neill said.

With sub-freezing temperatures the past few days, it was as cold inside as it was outside, the fire chief said.

Until repairs are completed, the fire department is allowing people into their apartments in the mornings beginning today, he said.

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