At least two county buildings sustained damages as a result of winter weather this week, and one machine at a city operation will need to be replaced. Several buildings around Sulphur Springs have flooding due to burst pipes, according to local officials.
Hopkins County Clerk’s Office had a leak issue. The area between the gutter and roof froze. The ice frozen in the gutter system had nowhere to go as things began melting, causing it to leak into the Clerk’s Office. Next door at the County Attorney’s office, water soaked ceiling tiles fell and the carpet was flooded as well.
Hopkins County Sheriff’s Office’s jail trustees along with county employee Bobby Woodard responded and got all of the ice off of the roof, reducing potential for additional leaking as it melts. The inmates helped clean up and work continues to be done cleaning the area. Damage to office equipment was relatively minimal; repairs at the County Clerk’s Office will be needed for one wall and some ceiling tiles at the edge of the wall, according to Hopkins County Fire Marshal/Emergency Management Coordinator Andy Endsley.
Damages at the Adult Probation Office were a little more severe, Endsley noted. A water line burst, causing flooding in the building. Woodard and county jail trustees also assisted with clean up at the Adult Probation Office, where officials are working to determine what items in the flooded area are salvageable.
Endsley said while full extent of damages won’t be known until next week, and likely not until after all of the ice and snow melts, the County Clerk’s Office is expected to be able to open Monday, if at limited or virtual capacity. The Adult Probation Office may be able to conduct limited business as well.
The Emergency Management coordinator commended the many county employees, Texas Department of Transportation and County precinct crew who have worked diligently since before the winter weather began to make the roads as passable as possible and efforts to get them open when the weather blanketed them with ice and snow, often causing them to refreeze or dumping accumulation overnight more than once.
He noted the responders out making calls, trying to assist the citizens of Hopkins County wherever needed and however possible. Endlsey commended the volunteer fire departments for their outstanding job assisting their districts. He noted both the county and city fire departments have responded a number of times at locations where sprinkler systems have burst causing flooding and have helped EMS, the latter he said also has done an outstanding job during the inclement weather.
“All have done really well, worked together really well, which is a beautiful thing to see,” Endsley noted.
Sulphur Springs City Manager Marc Maxwell noted that the city had very little damage resulting from the storm. A pipe burst at the police department, flooding the wing containing the police detective’s offices and the human resources offices. When the power went off at the waste water plant, a bar screen froze up. When the power came back on, the motor was reported to be so powerful it twisted it and damaged it. The plant is bypassing the bar screen and being treated further down the plant, which means more work for city emp”loyees. However, the city is still able to put out a “really high quality effluent.”
The city continues to supply water to meet the demands of city residents. The city also sells water to several local water districts. Currently, the City of Sulphur Springs is selling water to Commerce. They are sending trucks over and filling them, to assist the neighbors with water issues.
Maxwell noted that the recent weather has been eye-opening for water providers across the state, where officials had opted not to purchase a generators, because they didn’t think they’d need one. Many have built in stores of water in water towers and at an underground tank at the plant. They can continue to meet needs with only a few hours without power. An extended winter weather event, which caused lengthy utility outages across the state, has created problems for them.
The City of Sulphur Springs does not have that problem because a massive generator was purchased for the water treatment plant to aid in just such instances. The city has continued to provide service for Sulphur Springs residents.
Maxwell commended the employees of the city water and sewer plants for working non-stop during the winter weather. He urges citizens who see them on the street to waver and offer thanks for going above the call to provide service to city residents.
One issue some are having, in addition to the buildings that are flooding, are burst pipes at homes and businesses as well. Many during the winter weather contacted the city to have the water turned off to prevent further flooding issues. As things are melting, things are beginning to be repairs, and people are requesting for their water meters to be turned back on.
Maxwell also commended the city street workers who have been out putting down sand, fixing the sanding machine as it kept breaking, putting out tons of sand on city streets, to make them less dangerous for motorists traveling on them.