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Broken Water Pipe Destroys Library At Haverhill School

HAVERHILL (CBS) – A broken water pipe in a Haverhill school is going to cause big problems when vacation week comes to an end.

This weekend's record-breaking cold led to damage at the Consentino Middle School.

"Thousands and thousands of gallons of water just came pumping out," said Jared Fulgoni, director of strategy for Haverhill Public Schools.

Haverhill school
Consentino Middle School library damaged by frozen pipe (WBZ-TV)

Fulgoni says a heating coil froze, expanded, cracked and then when it thawed -- opened the floodgates.

The thousands of gallons damaged several classrooms and destroyed the library and some 2,000 books.

Haverhill school
A damaged heating coil led to damage in a Haverhill school (WBZ-TV)

"I was devastated," said Principal John Mele. "We put a lot of time and energy into the library."

Mele says the library will be closed indefinitely.

School itself is closed at least through Monday because asbestos was freed up by the rushing waters.

"Because this building was built back in the 1960s, there is some hazardous materials -- some asbestos that was up above the ceiling that was used for fireproofing," Fulgoni said.

Asbestos sign in Consentino Middle School in Haverhill (WBZ-TV)

The school has had to bring in specially-trained crews to carefully remove that mess and they're worried it could be summer before the library is fully back up and running.

"This is sometimes the only place where students really have access to reading and access to books, so when a library is damaged -- it really does make a difference," Fulgoni said.

The damage at this point is estimated to be at least half-a-million dollars. The school is hoping insurance will pick up a good chunk of that.

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