Movie Theater Soaked When Valve Cracks

TRIADELPHIA – A valve on a waterline inside the Marquee Cinemas cracked Thursday morning, causing about two inches of water to flood inside of one theater.

John Gearry, Valley Grove Volunteer Fire Department assistant chief, said the recent cold weather likely is to blame for the break on the line, which is used to supply water to a fire sprinkler system. The theater, which has 14 screening rooms, is located at The Highlands.

“Water was spurting all over the corner of the wall when we came in,” Gearry said.

Ohio County Development Authority maintenance workers also responded and used a large vacuum cleaner to suck up the water. They also planned to replace the valve and make any other necessary repairs.

“They might have been showing ‘Frozen’ in here,” Gearry quipped about the children’s cartoon movie.

Marquee Manager Mike Anderson said that particular theater was being used to screen a Justin Bieber movie.

“I don’t think anyone will be coming to see that (Thursday) anyway – the kids are all in school,” he said, adding he anticipated the screening room would be open later that afternoon. The carpets had to dry first.

Gearry said his department has not had many frozen pipe water breaks to respond to lately, but the VFD still responds to more than 600 calls per year. Prior to The Highlands’ development, the department had about 250 calls for service annually.

“We’re doing more calls with less people,” Gearry said.

Meanwhile, across the Ohio Valley people continue to deal with frozen pipes because of frigid temperatures. Local fire and water departments often respond to help residents even if a break has not occurred because of a loss of service. Wheeling Fire Department Chief Larry Helms said his firefighters have responded to about 15 frozen pipe calls across the city over the past two days.

“People call when they have a break and they can’t get the water shut off,” Helms said.

He noted it can help to leave some water dripping, especially on faucets with pipes near exterior walls.

“Moving fluid takes a lower temperature to freeze,” he said.

Wheeling Public Works Director Russell Jebbia said water department workers have received 150 calls for service during the past few days. When a resident has a break, water workers shutoff the home or business’ meter so repairs can be made.

He said some residents try to turn off their own meters or warm them up with blow torches, but this usually results in them being damaged instead.

“A little stream can make a big difference. It keeps the water moving through the meter,” he said.

Jebbia added a waterline break in the city Finance Department office Wednesday was not due to the cold weather, but a problem with the plumbing in general.