Several months ago, freezing temperatures caused a number of pipes to burst at the police headquarters in Columbus, Ohio. According to the local Fox News affiliate, the department is just now settling the last of its displaced personnel back into their workspaces after completing necessary repairs and cleanup.
Although a bathroom and a closet were "ground zero" for the most serious plumbing breaks, many parts of the building were affected by the ensuing flood. The city allocated $750,000 to complete the restoration project, and is reportedly still waiting to find out how much of the property damage will be covered by insurance.
Columbus Police Commissioner Kim Jacob was one of almost 180 municipal employees who were forced to abandon their offices after the pipes burst. She was unable to return to her office until late April. The department's technology and software unit was also affected by the flood.
Deputy Chief Michael Woods told reporters it was "frustrating" to have to work around the damage to the headquarters during the past few months. He added that the department did what it could to cut repair costs, including buying reconditioned furniture. The police have also said that they will be taking a more proactive approach to preventing similar contingencies in the future, conducting routine inspections once per shift.
This was not an isolated incident. According to the Insurance Information Institute's Robert Hartwig, there was an "epidemic of frozen and burst pipes" this winter as a result of temperatures that reached multi-decade lows in many areas.
Having up-to-date valuations for insured structures can help ensure that property owners will be fully covered for partial claims such as those stemming from burst pipes.