“We couldn’t believe it,” Norfolk home’s ceiling collapsed because of pipe burst

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – Parts of a ceiling in a Norfolk home collapsed because of water pipes freezing.

“We couldn’t believe it,” Michael Schmitt said of the damage. “Walking through the living room all you could do is slosh through the water in the carpet,” he said.

A plumber said the damage was caused by at least two holes in a ceiling water pipe.

10 On Your Side was there as a crew from Newman’s Plumbing service went in to fix it.

Unfortunately, the colder weather is making this a common occurrence around Hampton Roads.

“A lot of frozen broken pipes,” Brandon Tyler Montanye, with Newman’s Plumbing said.

Montanye said dripping both cold and hot water can possibly prevent a pipe burst.

“The movement of water is less likely to freeze,” he said.

They say there are some things you can do now in case a pipe bursts at your house.

WAVY Photo/Brandi Cummings

The little things will help emergency responders work faster. Fire officials say this is the time of year where they see lots of calls about broken pipes and sprinkler systems leaking water as pipes start to thaw.

Fire officials want you to know where your water cutoff is located.

Knowing that can help them work faster if they’re called to your home for a busted water line.

Norfolk utility worker Fred Davis showed 10 On Your Side how you can even turn the water off yourself if you have to.

Fire officials warn that you should not use an open flame to thaw frozen pipes.

They say you should be careful with electrical equipment around leaking water and be sure to know how to turn off your power if water gets into the electrical system.

Norfolk Battalion Chief Harry Worley said small things like knowing where the cut off valve is inside your home will make a huge difference and even help first responders if they are dispatched to a pipe burst in your home.

“Water will flow and it will go the easiest way it can go to get down to the ground,” he said.

WAVY Photo/Brandi Cummings

“Still be careful even though it’s starting to warm up,” Chief Worley explained.

Other things to can do to prevent a pipe burst include opening cabinet doors to allow warm air to circulate around pipes and closing the vents or crawl space doors outside of your house.