Frozen fire sprinklers result in a quarter million dollar loss for local business

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HUTCHINSON, Kan. (KSNW) – A quarter of a million-dollar loss — that’s after water gushed into a Hutchinson business on Monday. Now, the owner is shining light on the lesser-known effects of the extreme weather. 

Mark Ebeling, owner of Ebeling Pools in Hutchinson, said he got an early wake-up call at 5 a.m. He said a fire sprinkler burst, causing extensive damage to his shop. 

“The property manager says Mark I’m sorry, but he says we got a little problem,” said Ebeling. “I am thinking, oh no.”

In 20 minutes, more than two feet of water filled Ebeling’s pool store. 

“All you can do is sit there and look at it,” said Ebeling. 

It took the city two hours to shut off the water. Ebeling said his fireplaces, wood stoves, grills, and some pool supplies were ruined. 

“We’re still working on the lost dollars, we know we’re at least in the 250,000 dollar range,” he said. 

Ebeling is not the only one. Nick Pina, the fire project services manager, said he’s received 40 calls since Saturday. 

“We’ve noticed with a lot of customers, just not having adequate heat in their building and obviously you know it’s been a long time since we’ve been this cold for this long,” said Pina. 

Pina said the rolling blackouts are an issue. He said the water is more susceptible to freeze in the sprinkler pipes because it sits there. He said once it hits below 40 degrees, it could freeze. 

“We just try to preach to people to keep it heated as much as you can,” he said. 

Ebeling said he will be out of the building for at least 30 days. He said he is moving his inventory to his old building in South Hutchinson and will focus on deliveries.

He said he is thankful it isn’t the busy part of the season. While it’s a tough loss, he said it is a great reminder to check your pipes. 

“All you can do is laugh, it’s out of your control so all you got to do is clean the mess up and go on,” said Ebeling.

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