Frozen pipes burst, cause ceiling to collapse

News 12 at 11/ Tuesday, January 7, 2014

MARTINEZ, Ga. (WRDW) -- These freezing temperatures outside mean a lot of water inside for one Columbia County man. His pipes burst and caused his ceiling to collapse.

"All the wet insulation on the floor, a pile probably about a foot high. It looked like ground beef, ground beef with ceiling tiles in it," described Robert Atkinson.

It was a sight that made Atkinson lose his appetite.

"You look at it and you go, 'I don't have a house to live in tonight,'" he said.

The freezing temperatures burst his pipes, bringing the kitchen ceiling crashing down.

"This is the area where it fell in. The light fixture was right here. Just completely and totally popped the brackets it was on. The weight of the ceiling crushed it in," he said as he pointed to the hole in his ceiling.

It left him days of cleaning and a long road of repairs.

"We've got puddles and puddles of water now," he said as his shoe creates a puddle in his carpet.

Even with the water turned off, you can still see a taunting drip from the insulation in the gaping hole in his kitchen. But that little drip is nothing compared to the in-house waterfall around 10:30 Tuesday morning.

"It was like a peaceful spring rain. It was dropping, It was beautiful, but it was everywhere, and it was in my kitchen, so I wish the rain would have stayed outside," Atkinson laughed.

After a handy father ventures into the trouble spot, they find the problem pipe.

"The piece he cut off is about maybe 3 or 4 inches long. The hole itself is smaller than a dime," he said.

It left him wondering how something so small could cause such a huge mess and feeling a little helpless since he tried to prepare for the worst.

"I had multiple faucets running last night. Had the bathroom faucets running, had the kitchen faucet running," he said.

Even though he's lost his kitchen, the water in his house, and the lights in some areas, somehow he still hasn't lost his sense of humor.

"Kitchen's useless.Start over. Re-model. It was the way for a plumber to be a millionaire overnight," he laughed.

Atkinson says if he gets his water back on tonight, he's going to keep the faucets wide open and flowing. He doesn't care how high his water bill will be. He just wants to make sure this never happens again.

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