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Pipe bursts leave many displaced, inconvenienced

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RICHMOND, Va. -- Water gushed out of a Shockoe Bottom apartment building at the corner of 18th Street and Grace Street on Friday night after a water pipe burst in a second floor apartment.

“It literally looked like a waterfall coming out of the side of the building,” Josh Kreplick, who lives in the building where the pipe burst, said.

Kreplick captured video on his cell phone after the water pipe burst and flooded four apartments.

“It’s just the worst case scenario for them I would imagine,” Kreplick said.

CBS 6 reporter Melissa Hipolit talked to some of the people inside those apartments off camera as they frantically tried to save their belongings from the water.

One man said he was trying to save his guitars. Another woman and her husband clutched their baby as they moved the child’s items out of their apartment.

The Richmond Fire Department stopped the water flow and helped remove the water, but Battalion Chief Pat Schoeffel said he expects many more pipes to break over the weekend.

“As the water freezes in there it expands and cracks the pipe,” Schoeffel said.

The Richmond Department of Utilities said in a Tweet that their call center has been flooded with calls about frozen pipes.

Across town in Short Pump, another family dealt with the cold’s wrath.

“I’m not going to be able to give her a bath.  I’ve had to buy all of our food,” Samantha Lee said while holding her 11-month-old baby.

Lee’s pipes froze leaving her with a kitchen sink full of dishes, toilets that won’t flush, and a baby in tears.

Still, Lee is thankful she has heat and can stay I her home, something a few of her fellow RIchmonders can’t do on a bitter cold night in the River City.

Schoeffel said all of the people who were displaced on Friday have places to stay.

Richmond’s Department of Public Utilites said via Twitter that if your pipes burst, you should turn the water off at the valve.

They also provided a recommendation for flushing your toilets while pipes are frozen.

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