Cold snap bursts pipe at Yampa Valley Regional Airport |

Cold snap bursts pipe at Yampa Valley Regional Airport

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — A cold snap, which dropped temperatures below zero Tuesday night, caused a pipe to burst at the Yampa Valley Regional Airport in Hayden.

While the burst pipe did cause a significant amount of water to spill into the terminal — some even cascading down into a baggage claim area — there were no delays with the morning flight.

“The problem was it wasn’t just any pipe, it was a pipe on our fire sprinkler system,” said Kevin Booth, director of the airport. “When it senses a loss in pressure, it thinks that fire sprinklers have started, and it cranks up a high pressure pump and then starts pumping a lot of water.”

The pipe burst in one of the gate areas, and by the time West Routt Fire Protection District firefighters arrived, it had spread to more than a third of the secured area, Booth said.

Around midnight Tuesday, Booth and other airport employees started to get the water soaked up working through the early morning hours. A professional restoration team with a high-pressure vacuum came in after to complete the clean up.

“All in all, it could have been a lot worse,” Booth said. “We still launched our flight on time this morning out of one of the gates that got some water in it. We had it dried out enough to where we could process passengers.”

Booth said there wasn’t significant damage.

“It didn’t look like it when you first walked in — it was a lot of water,” he said.

Some drywall was damaged, which will be repaired by a contractor already working on completing drywall for ongoing construction at the airport.

It was a “good team effort through the wee hours of the morning, and we’re pretty happy that there was not really significant damage,” Booth said. “No impact to our operations, other than I’ve got staff, myself included, that are running on empty.”

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