East Knoxville Water Main Break Cancels School


Think of it as Sprung Break for students at Vine Middle School in East Knoxville whose classes have been called off this coming Monday and Tuesday. On the scene was Volunteer TV's Kim Bedford, who shows you the mess that some East Knoxville residents and a whole school system now have to deal with.

Thousands of gallons of water moving quickly under Bertrand street in East Knoxville liberated themselves around three o'clock Saturday morning as the result of the water main break. That water proceeded to flow across Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue and then straight through the front doors of the Vine Middle School. In total two inches of water and a lot of mood now cover parts of the magnet school's first floor, stairs, and basement.

"Basically the hallways and some classrooms and the principals office," said Rodney Evans, a Service Master Operations Manager.

Even the cafeteria is waterlogged and crews are working around the clock to clean up and dry the school out.

"We'll extract the water," Evans said, "and then we'll clean the floors and we'll spray it with antimicrobial which will help prevent mold growth. we'll use fans and de-use to get the water out and the de-use will help pull water out of any unseen areas."

Evan's, who seemed unfazed by the flood, helped his crew worked all day, pulling up wet carpet in classrooms and replacing ceiling tiles.

"I've saw a lot worse," he said, "so it's not really as bad as it looks."

Vine students may be silently rejoicing, but Almetor King who owns a house near the break is nothing but worries.

"I'm afraid it's going to happen again," she said referring to the fact that the same pipe broke in August 20005. "It has gone through my yard again and it washed away all my Goldfish, my Kois, and ran all the way across the street. Last time it cost a thousand dollars. This time probably about the same."

Fortunately no homes were flooded, but KUB says they're taking care of customers damage to the yards, and of course the students from Vine.

"You've got kids here," said Darrin Rhines, a KUB Planning & Communications official. "I'm a father, and i want to make sure it's safe, and it will be safe before they come back in."

The Knox County School System agrees with KUB on the matter. Superintendent Charles Lindsey says the district will asses the cleanup on Tuesday to determine whether it's safe for students to return on Wednesday. He plans to ask state permission to use Knox County's four remaining weather days, so that Vine won't have to make up the days missed.


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