BURNS – A text message awoke Bobby Dishman, principal of Burns Junior-Senior High School, at 2 a.m. Tuesday.

It was a janitor, alerting him that the below-freezing temperatures southeast Wyoming experienced over the weekend caused the fire sprinkler system’s pipes to burst and flood parts of the school.

“When I walked into the school around 2:40 a.m., there was probably an inch of standing water,” Dishman said, noting that most of the flooding occurred in a corner of the gymnasium, a hallway and the library.

“The library probably took the brunt of the damage. There’s probably water over three-quarters of the floor. ... but it’s mostly on the floor – there weren’t as many books damaged as you might think,” he said.

Since the water system had to be turned off to address the damage – making toilets and sinks temporarily inaccessible – the 289 students attending Burns had a day of remote learning, but will return to in-person lea-rning Wednesday morning.

While the students were learning from home, Dishman and a crew of custodians spent the day sweeping, mopping and vacuuming up as much water as they could.

“We got the commons area cleaned, and we got most of the gym. The library is going to take a little bit,” Dishman said., adding that he’s unsure of how severe the overall damage is or how much it will cost to repair.

“I won’t know that until those who make a lot more money than I do come take a look.”

Kathryn Palmer is the Wyoming Tribune Eagle’s education reporter. She can be reached at kpalmer@ or 307-633-3167. Follow her on Twitter at @kathrynb


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