REACH shelter suffers extensive damage from bursted frozen pipes

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Deena C. Bouknight Contributing Writer

On the afternoon of Christmas Eve, a pipe in the sprinkler system of the REACH of

A severe temperature drop over the Christmas holiday caused extensive damage to the REACH of Macon County shelter due to a bursted pipe in the sprinkler system. The resulting flood sent the ceiling crashing into the shelter along with several inches of water. Photos submitted

Macon County shelter froze and burst in the client computer lab, resulting in the ceiling collapsing, damage to all computers, and extensive damage to adjoining rooms because of the several inches of water that flooded the shelter. 

“Fortunately, no one was injured,” said Andrea Anderson, executive director. “The shelter has 10 bedrooms with private baths, two kitchen/dining areas, an office, computer lab, playroom, laundry room, pantry, and storage areas, so the flooding was quite extensive. There will be repairs needed throughout the shelter and most of the furniture will be a loss. We anticipate that it will be several months before repairs will be completed.”

Although insurance will cover much of the cost to repair damages, Anderson pointed out, “There will be a gap in replacement costs and expenses associated with client relocation and displacement. But the most important thing that we want everyone to know is that we are still providing all services, including shelter services. The night of the incident, we were able to transition all residents into alternative shelter and provide food and all necessities. And, we are very happy to say that the Christmas presents for the families and their children were saved, and in spite of the circumstances, everyone put their best foot forward in pursuit of a Merry Christmas.”

Anderson said she has been impressed with how “our community has always supported REACH and our mission. In fact, it was with the support of the community that we were able to build our shelter approximately seven years ago. Since that time, we have housed hundreds of families and their children. Our top goal is not to let this be a barrier for someone trying to leave an abusive situation.  We do have resources to still provide immediate alternative shelter, and we are looking for a rental home for a few months to better serve our needs during the interim.”

Anderson expressed “thanks” to “Franklin Fire and Rescue, Serv-Pro, NCI, and many of our staff and their families, who responded and came in to help with whatever was needed. Without all who came to assist, the damage could have been much worse. Also, a huge thank you to First Baptist Church, which helped provide hot meals, drinks, and other items on Christmas Day.”

To assist with the REACH shelter repairs and ongoing efforts by the nonprofit organization, whose focus is to assist individuals affected by domestic violence, sexual assault, or human trafficking, Anderson said that monetary donations, gas and food cards, and assistance with the REACH for Bargains thrift store is needed. Visit www.reachofmaconcounty.org. Anyone in need of assistance and/or sheltering can text the crisis line at 828-369-5544.

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