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Frozen pipes cause extensive damage to school

Encore closed until Thursday

Protect pipes from freezing:

With lows expected to stay below freezing this week, water pipes can freeze, causing them to burst.

Frozen or broken water pipes are second only to hurricanes in terms of the cost and the number of homes damaged across the country, according to Insurance Information Network of California.

To avoid damage:

• Disconnect all garden hoses and outside hose connections.

• If possible, use an indoor valve to turn off and drain water running from pipes to outside faucets.

• Insulate any exposed pipes.

• If you go out of town, leave your thermostat set to at least 55 degrees.

• Learn how to shut off your water supply to minimize the damage in case a pipe does burst.

HESPERIA • Unusually low nighttime temperatures wreaked havoc on water pipes throughout the High Desert on Sunday, causing thousands of dollars in damage and keeping some kids out of school for the week.

“We stopped by at about 10 a.m. yesterday (Sunday) and I haphazardly noticed that the fire department had taken the gates off the fences,” said Steve Dekany, enrollment director at Encore Junior/Senior High School. “But by that time all the damage had already been done. The pipes froze overnight and flooded our entire Main Arts building.”

According to Dekany, the arts building is a common area that every student goes through at one point or another throughout the day, and it would be impossible to have the school open without being able to use that building.

Dekany said that “all hands have been on deck,” as administrators, staff and teachers work around the clock to get the school cleaned up as best they can.

Dekany said that the flooding was so extensive it covered the 16,000 square foot building, causing ceilings to cave in and damaging “a ton of classroom equipment” such as computers and sewing equipment.

“It ruined a lot of stuff,” Dekany said. “It’s been real rough.”

Although Dekany estimates $50,000 to $100,000 in damage — so far — he said that he was thankful that he had found the damage before Monday morning and was able to notify the parents in time. “It would have been absolute chaos if we hadn’t found it,” Dekany said.

“Once the safety equipment is in check — it has to pass inspection — then we can reopen,” Dekany said. “We’re hoping to resume school on Thursday, but there’s still a threat of freezing because of our location. We’re in a high wind, high frost area. This is what we’ve been combating.”

The Encore call was just one of 44 separate incidents involving broken water lines between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Sunday, according to a press release from the county fire department.

For more information on Encore, call (760) 956-2632

Lynnea Lombardo may be reached at (760) 951-6232 or at

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