COLORADO SPRINGS – The water line break that flooded Doherty High School Sunday, forcing its week-long closure, may have resulted from a training exercise conducted by the Colorado Springs Fire Department. “If there is an issue with it, then we’re going to have to go back and figure out why it happened and what can be done so that we can get that practice in,” said CSFD spokesman, Capt. Brian Vaughan.
Vaughan says crews from Fire Station 10 were at Doherty Sunday afternoon training with a ladder truck and were hooked into a nearby fire hydrant when a coach came out of the building to report water gushing throughout the building. “They shut down the truck, shut down the engines, shut down the hydrant, and immediately went from training to setting a command incident,” Vaughan said. Damage assessment on the water pipe will determine a cause for its rupture. “It’s 2,000 gallons a minute that comes out of there, so we don’t like to flow a long time,” Vaughan said. “However, that is putting a strain on every system anytime we have a large incident like that and we’re pulling that much water from the system. There’s a lot of moving pieces going on.”
Vaughan says findings in a report on the incident will be handled by the city’s Risk Management Division and a determination will be made as to whether the training activity caused the water line to rupture.
“It ended up flooding the whole east corridor of the school, causing some pretty significant damage,” said Colorado Springs District 11 spokesperson Devra Ashby. “What we need to do now is replace close to 100 feet of pipe as well as do some major cleanup at the school.” D-11 announced Monday that the building will not be able to be occupied for the entire week. Thursday and Friday were already scheduled days off for students due to parent-teacher conferences, so students will only lose three days of instructional time, but if it is a bad winter and the district must use its allotment of weather cancellation days, the lost instructional time due to the flooding will need to be made up. “That may include extending days, but may also include some e-learning opportunities that we’re taking a look at,” Ashby.
Conferences scheduled for Thursday and Friday will need to be rescheduled, Ashby said, and extracurricular activities such as practices for athletics and performing arts are being held at alternate off-site locations.