Church and food pantry start clean up after flooding from burst pipe

With the cold weather Eastern Iowa saw over the past week, many have experienced burst pipes causing flooding in their homes.
Published: Dec. 28, 2022 at 10:29 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - With the cold weather eastern Iowa saw over the past week, many have experienced burst pipes causing flooding in their homes.

One Cedar Rapids church is now dealing with just that as they discovered a burst pipe impacting more than just their organization.

”There was a good few inches in there, even I opened the door and couldn’t make it through, but you could just hear the water gushing out of the pipes,” Stormy Garretson, the church’s office manager, said.

First Presbyterian Church in Cedar Rapids has started clean-up efforts after a burst pipe flooded parts of their building. Garretson said the pipe was leaking for days before the break was discovered.

”We were closed for the holiday weekend, so I came in yesterday morning and everything was just flooded. There was kind of water everywhere,” Garretson said.

Garretson said they don’t yet know the full extent of the damage, but one of the biggest impacts was to the artwork in the room. And the church wasn’t the only organization affected by the burst pipe. Linn Community Food Bank also calls the church home.

”There’s a lot of food that we lost,” Ron Malick, Linn Community Food Bank volunteer, said.

Malick said donations have been up because of the holiday season, but they typically see a drop going into the new year.

”Hopefully it won’t be too long because there are people that need the food. At this point, it’s the end of the month and that’s our biggest time. So this is a hard hard time for us to be closed,” Malick said.

911 Restoration, a water damage restoration service, was at the church Wednesday to start clean-up efforts. Owner Andy Chihak said it can take at least a week just to dry things out.

”First we have to extract as much water as we can, then some pretty heavy dehumidification and fans air movement heat to extract as much of the water as we can out of the materials,” Chihak said.

For now, the church is taking things one step at a time.

”We’ve had a lot of anxious volunteers that came in. They brought in shop vacs, brooms, squeegees. Anything that they had on hand to help clean up,” Garretson said.