FORT HOOD, Texas – This sprawling Central Texas Army installation is recovering from an unprecedented winter storm that blanketed Central Texas under inches of snow and ice. “We had to deal with it a little differently,” said Jose Ancira. The Fort Hood Public Works Directorate of Roads and Lands said about the winter weather. “We’re not really used to combining snow and ice. This time the ice stuck around and then it snowed on the ice … then it rained and froze on the other layers. “The DPW road and ground crew worked 12 hours a day cleaning roads with construction equipment, followed by laying layers of sand to give the roads some traction. Ancira said they used over 150 tons of sand on the streets of Fort Hood to keep people safe. Although Fort Hood has a plan for snow and ice removal, the work did not go according to plan due to the severity of the work and because some employees were unable to make it to work due to dangerous road conditions throughout the commuter area. Ancira’s street crew consisted of 13 people, but he said none of this would have been possible without the entire DPW team working together. “Because of our unique skills, great team and effort, we were able to achieve everything we had to do. Brian Dosa, director of Fort Hood DPW, said he had never seen anything like the storm, even after living in Texas for more than 20 years. He was impressed with the “tremendous work” of the streets and the site crew in cleaning snow and ice. He was also impressed that Fort Hood did so well in the storm: “We made out really well,” added Dosa. “During the storm that lasted more than a week, we never (fully) powered Fort Hood, which is incredible.” Dosa said there were a couple of transformers that burned out causing power to cut on a street, but Dominion Energy, Fort Hood’s energy partner, was quick to fix the minor outages. Although power outages were not a major concern for Fort Hood, freezing temperatures wreaked havoc on the property’s water pipes, fire extinguishing systems, and heating systems. “When these pipes were exposed to the extremely cold weather, they would freeze and break, causing flooding,” said Dosa. The DPW director said 16 8 to 10 inch water pipes broke that have since been repaired by American Water, Fort Hood’s water and sewer partner. In addition, burst pipes, water-based heating systems and fire-fighting systems in buildings have caused significant damage to ceilings, floors and walls as well as to objects in the affected areas. “It will take us some time to clean up, however, our priorities are to fix any water leaks, restore fire fighting systems, restore heat, and then start working on some of that collateral damage,” he added. DPW is currently tracking 40 barracks with some type of heating or hot water failures. Dosa said repairing these was a top priority. He explained that seven barracks in the 87000 block that house the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade and 3rd Cavalry Regiment soldiers suffered an interruption in the main hot water line on Saturday night, causing hundreds of soldiers to lose heat and hot water from the soldiers Those who had already warmed up decided to stay in their rooms and have a hot shower at the Starker Physical Fitness Center. Two child development centers, the Burba Physical Fitness Center and the clubhouse at Courses of Clear Creek were among the buildings that suffered from flooding. He said some of the damage was only discovered after the pipes had time to thaw and drain. “We will have all the water restored in early March,” said Dosa. “I think it will take us a few weeks to fix all of the heat. Some are easy, others take time … Clearing the collateral damage will take months. We’ll do the triage and initial cleanup, then set up the projects to fix them. “He said, while they are still evaluating, he estimates the damage will cost millions to repair. Soldiers can call 254-287-2113 to submit a work order or visit www.armymaintenance.com if they have problems with barracks. “On a typical day at Fort Hood, we might get 35 or 40 priority 1 (emergency) requests,” he explained. “We were there by the hundreds a day. One day there were 400 requests for emergencies. “Dosa said he couldn’t be happier with the hard work of his employees, taking work orders, working tirelessly in the cold, and ordering supplies for repairs – all while struggling with their own electricity and water problems at home. He was also impressed by all the soldiers who lent a helpful hand in their barracks and around the installation. The tremendous work of American Water and Dominion Energy cannot be overstated – we wouldn’t do as well as we would without them. “Lots of good people out there work hard and do the right thing.”
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