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57 women, children moved out of YWCA shelter during water damage repairs

Work continues at the YWCA Cass Clay Emergency shelter at 3000 S. University Drive to repair damage caused by a sprinkler pipe on Dec. 20. Gigi Wood / The Forum 1 / 4
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A view of the ceiling where a sprinkler pipe burst at the YWCA Cass Clay Emergency Shelter, 3000 S. University Drive in Fargo, forcing evacuation of the women's shelter's residents. Gigi Wood / The Forum 3 / 4
Women and children who were staying at the YWCA Cass Clay Emergency shelter at 3000 S. University Drive have been moved to a temporary location after a sprinkler pipe collapsed the building’s attic on Dec. 20. Gigi Wood / The Forum 4 / 4

FARGO — Fifty-seven women and children who were staying at the YWCA Cass Clay Emergency shelter at 3000 S. University Drive have been moved to a temporary location after a sprinkler pipe collapsed the building's attic on Dec. 20.

The address of the alternative location will not be released to protect those using it, many of whom are escaping violence, homelessness and other crises. It is staffed and safe, said Erin Prochnow, the YWCA's executive director.

"We are staffing the alternate location and keeping it as safe as we can, to the best of our ability," she said. "We are committed to our mission of providing safety to the women and children we serve."

Shelter residents will not return to the University Drive building for another six weeks while cleanup and repairs take place. The electrical and mechanical systems, including the elevators and fire alarm, need to be repaired and operational before residents can occupy the building, she said.

YWCA staff continue to work out of the University Drive location, answering the nonprofit's hotline, (701) 232-3449, and serving those in need.

There are no estimates available yet for monetary damages or gallons of water that spilled into the 12-year-old building, but Fire Department officials have determined the structure is sound, Prochnow said. Insurance claims adjusters and SteamMaster workers have been on site since Dec. 20 assessing the damage and drying areas that were flooded.

Temperatures in Fargo ranged from a high of 13 degrees to a low of minus 18 the week before the pipe burst. When temperatures warmed to 21 degrees on Dec. 20, enough pressure was put on a sprinkler pipe to cause it to burst, Prochnow said.

The YWCA's facilities manager turned off the water within two minutes, but not before water flowed through every level, even reaching the diaper and food storage rooms in the basement, she said. Nearly every bedroom and office was damaged throughout the building.

Fans are on and the heat is turned up to help dry out the rooms. Sheetrock is being replaced and Prochnow figures the flooring will also need to go.

"We're working hard to restore it; water is a destructive force," Prochnow said. "We so appreciate the support we've received from the community. The support of the community is how we fund our mission."

Because of the water damage, the YWCA needs housewares, including linens and kitchen goods, and food, money and volunteer time. The organization lost its supply of diapers and is in need of cold weather supplies, such as lotion, lip balm and cough medicine.

"We need all the things you're going out to get for your family during this time of year," Prochnow said.

Donated goods will be accepted at the YWCA Administrative Office at 3100 12th Ave. N. from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and at YWCA donation bins elsewhere, including its University Drive location.

YWCA needed items

Diapers

Volunteer time

Monetary donations

Food

Personal hygiene products (deodorant, etc.)

Pots and pans

Drinking glasses

Silverware

Bed linens

Towels

Shower curtains

Lotion

Lip balm

Cough medicine and drops

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