Burst pipes, broken furnaces plague Calgary buildings

CALGARY- Fluctuating temperatures have not only wreaked havoc on roads, but also on buildings around the city dealing with everything from burst pipes to broken furnaces.

On Sunday, a pipe burst in a store in Brentwood Mall where the heat had been turned down.

“I see the water just rushing like a river, and I got close, and they told me to close the place immediately,” says store owner Nashir Shivji.

His business is back open, but he is dealing with a $4,000 loss in sales due to the closure along with damaged products.

“This is our main month for business near Christmas, and it is quite bad when customers call and ask ‘are you open?’’

Dehumidifiers have since been brought in to help dry out the mall.

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Meantime, residents in Calgary Place Apartments downtown say they have been without heat for nearly a week—despite temperatures dropping to -30.

“I was wearing more clothes inside than I am right now. I was wearing full thermal clothing,” says Dave Debacker, who lives in the building. “Three layers. Wrapped up in a blanket. It was unbearably cold.”

He finally went out and bought his own space heater, but is furious that nothing has been done yet to fix the problem.

“I was shaking I was so upset. With pets in the house that are basically on the verge of freezing to death because it was so cold in the apartment building, I had to go deal with it myself. With the amount of rent I pay here it is absolutely ridiculous.”

The company that runs Calgary Place says that when they found out about the two broken boilers, they offered space heaters to residents. They were able to fulfill 15 of the 22 requests they received.

Heating experts say furnaces are most likely to break down in extreme cold because they are run so hard. Officials from the Calgary Fire Department say the best way to prevent pipes from cracking is to try and keep them warm by insulating around the pipes.

With files from Carolyn Kury de Castillo

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