JCS staff pitch in for flood control

Steve Tool/Chieftain From left, emergency school cleanup volunteer and substitute bus driver, Keith Newburn, and JCS maintenance director, Tim Kiesecker, stand underneath the ceiling where it collapsed after a hot water pipe fitting burst on June 10. School was canceled for that day.

Joseph Charter School students got a break (no pun intended) on the next-to-last day of school because of a ruptured water line. Students were already packing the halls at the school at 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday, June 10 — and then they weren’t.

Superintendent Rhonda Shirley was walking down the elementary school hallway when she noted a collapsed ceiling and water flooding the halls. She notified Maintenance Director Tim Kiesecker, who immediately responded to the damage while the school canceled classes and concentrated on getting students back home.

“We had a fitting burst. I’d been here since 5:30 (a.m.) and went on my bus run at seven. Mrs. Shirley saw it about a half hour later. It was a two-inch line, and it filled up about every room but two down here,” Kiesecker said.

After the appropriate valve was shut off, the vast majority of the resultant mess was cleaned up and the water was out of the building within a couple of hours — and not just under Kiesecker’s own steam. “I really need to put in a big ‘thank you’ for all the teachers, the bus drivers; everybody jumped in and did a job,” Kiesecker said.

The helpers put three carpet extractors, three “shop vacs” and a number of squeegees to work cleaning up the spill. “The worst part of it was that it was a hot water pipe. Steam was actually rolling though the hallways. The smell was like out of another world — not a good world,” Kiesecker said.

The quick response that held damage to a minimum allowed the staff to make the decision to have school the next day. “We may have a hole in the ceiling, but we’re gonna have school,” Kiesecker said.

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