Off-Duty Plumber Saves Salon

Nevada plumber’s day off with family turns into an emergency situation.

With family in town over the Thanksgiving holiday, Duke Gutierrez, owner of Duke’s Plumbing, Heating & Air in Gardnerville, Nevada, headed to a salon with his wife, Margie, a cousin and her three daughters. With the ladies in back enjoying a pedicure, Gutierrez sat in the waiting area, enjoying a bit of calm on a day off. But a plumber’s job is never finished, as he was soon reminded.

“All of a sudden my wife starts yelling for me,” Gutierrez says. “So I run to the back, and there’s water dripping from the ceiling.” What began as a drip turned to a gush in under a minute, he adds, noting that low temperatures over the holiday weekend created the issue. “It froze overnight, and the pipe split.”

When he noticed that the water appeared black, Gutierrez quickly assumed it was from the water sprinkler line. As soon as he went outside he heard the fire sprinkler alarm going off, so he ran toward the noise, which was at the opposite end of the building. After determining that the alarm was located within a nearby FedEx shipping facility, he was able to shut the water off and mitigate the amount of water damage.

From there, Gutierrez and his family members all volunteered to pitch in with the cleanup effort. “We created a nice little dam with towels to prevent the water from spreading any farther,” he explains, noting that the building was large and long — roughly 3,000 or 4,000 square feet. This helped isolate the water and prevent it from spreading throughout the building.

Brooms were used to push water out the door, and when firefighters arrived on the scene they used squeegees to do the same. A local fire sprinkler company was called in to service the issue and get it back up and running. Gutierrez also notified COIT, an emergency service and restoration company, so that extraction machines, dehumidifiers and fans could help dry out the impacted area.

Had he not stepped in immediately, the damages would have likely been a whole lot worse, Gutierrez says. If the water started spraying in the attic, for example, the ceiling could have come down. “It would have been a nightmare,” he says.

Because of the speedy assistance, however, there were no obvious signs of damage. “I knew that they had just opened this business five months ago, so I wanted to help them get their business restored and back up and running as soon as possible,” Gutierrez explains. “By doing that, that would allow them to get back on track sooner rather than later.”

Plumbing never sleeps, he points out, and issues arise 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Like EMTs, police officers and firefighters, this situation was a great example of what plumbers can do to help tackle a surprise head on, mitigate potential damages and help resolve the issue at hand.

“In an emergency, you need somebody who knows what to do and how to solve the problem,” Gutierrez adds. “I just did a good deed, I guess you could say.”

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