Home Youth empowerment Burst pipe damages computers donated to Calgary students

Burst pipe damages computers donated to Calgary students

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“It’s not the Sunday we were hoping for, especially as we are getting ready for the start of the school year tomorrow”

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A burst pipe in a community hall in southeast Calgary on Sunday morning caused water damage to nearly 100 computers that had been donated for use by school children in the city.

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Community leader Gar Gar visited the Forest Lawn Community Association building shortly before noon Sunday, where a burst pipe in the ceiling submerged around 80 to 95 computers underwater. He said the damage represents a major setback for the community.

“It’s not Sunday that we were hoping for, especially as we prepare for the school to open tomorrow,” said Gar, executive director of Youth Empowerment and Skills (YES), the association at nonprofit that collected the computers. The group has anticipated the possibility of classes being online due to the Omicron wave of the COVID-19 pandemic by collecting and preparing computers for use by children who do not have access to this technology.

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“We thought we would be ahead of this news, and we were waiting to see what happened next, taking proactive steps… But this event took us 100 steps back from what we had planned.”

  1. Mum Zelna Robles with daughter Julianne, 12, a grade 7 student who received a new Chromebook this week through the Calgary YES Center on Tuesday, May 11, 2021.

    Families Appreciate Donations of Technology to Support Kindergarten to Grade 12 Home Learning

  2. Gar Gar of the Youth Empowerment and Skills Charity poses with computers donated to the Forest Lawn Community Center.  The charity is working to provide donated computers and devices to students who lack access to technology and e-learning capabilities at home during the pandemic.  Tuesday April 20, 2021.

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A spokesperson for the Calgary Fire Department said firefighters attended the scene at the request of the city’s water department, which was unable to access the building. Firefighters forced open the door and cut off the building’s utilities. Firefighters said the burst pipe occurred long before crews arrived at the scene. The City of Calgary said the building had a service valve leak at 10:45 a.m., with repairs to be done by a contractor.

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The Forest Lawn Community Association could not be reached immediately for comment.

It is the latest in a series of water outages in Calgary during two spells of extreme cold that have seen temperatures in the city stay well below freezing for much of the past three weeks. As of 1 p.m. Sunday, 177 homes were without water as the city scrambled to fix broken water pipes in the communities of Pineridge, Radisson Heights and Whitehorn.

The YES Center made it easier to donate computers to families without access to technology during previous waves of the pandemic when schools were forced online, with volunteers refurbishing the machines. Gar said it was important that these resources be made available so that children from disadvantaged backgrounds are not left behind if learning comes back online this semester.

Gar Gar, community member and volunteer, examines flood damage inside the Forest Lawn Community Association in southeast Calgary on Sunday, January 9, 2022.
Gar Gar, community member and volunteer, examines flood damage inside the Forest Lawn Community Association in southeast Calgary on Sunday, January 9, 2022. Photo by Jim Wells / Postmedia

The community advocate said the group will be looking for other donations to recover the damage, with the best way to reach them being [email protected]

“This was all donated by generous Calgarians, and when they hear something they always reach out, just like they did before,” Gar said, adding that access to technology is an issue that families face. face even outside the pandemic.

“The best thing would be to move forward after COVID and make sure children and their families are supported.”

Flood damage at the Forest Lawn Community Association is shown in Calgary on Sunday January 9, 2022.
Flood damage at the Forest Lawn Community Association is shown in Calgary on Sunday January 9, 2022. Photo by Jim Wells / Postmedia

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Twitter: @jasonfherring