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Thaw causing bursting pipes throughout Central Virginia

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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

Virginia's Department of Taxation in Richmond had to evacuate employees Wednesday afternoon after a sprinkler pipe burst. It's just one of many cases all over Central Virginia as cold weather wreaked havoc.

Fire Departments all over the area say they responded to multiple alarms Wednesday. Many involved water leaks and pipes bursting from Henrico to Richmond to Colonial Heights.

"That's the cover for the fluorescent light. The water came down and knocked that sideways," Hampton Mitchell points to damage in the ceiling at Cambridge Baptist Church.

Members are cleaning up a huge mess.

"We're looking at wet carpet," he said.

Henrico Fire responded to find a burst pipe led to water leaking from the bathroom ceiling.

"When he opened the door about six inches of water gushed out," Mitchell said.

It spread throughout the church.

"They were using squeegees to get the water out of the carpet and pushed out of the door," he said.

Across the area there were similar scenarios. At the Virginia Department of Taxation on Westmoreland Street, employees were evacuated after a water sprinkler burst there too.

Even the Colonial Heights courthouse temporarily shut down after a water valve broke in the basement.

Plumbing companies say they're especially busy since pipes are thawing after being exposed to freezing temperatures.

As you walk through the hallways of Cambridge Baptist Church, you can still see all of the water that still remains on the ground. What it means is that it's just not safe for church members to be here yet.

"I would imagine we'll be canceling services," Mitchell said.

Henrico Fire responded to more than 30 fire alarms and nearly 10 other calls for service Wednesday and many of them involved burst pipes. To put that into perspective, on any given day, they only getting about 4 alarms.

"We're blessed that it didn't do more damage than it did," Mitchell said.

The Department of Taxation says the faulty sprinkler head that caused the problem is being replaced.

Richmond fire crews are advising everyone to be mindful of protecting your pipes this Winter.

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