In the days leading up to Christmas 2013, severe ice storms hit Lakeview, MI – a small 1,000-person village located about 50 miles to the northeast of Grand Rapids. Not only did the ice storms cause property damage and make transportation difficult in the area, but they also caused power lines to fall and fail. While many homes in the area were affected, so was the area school district, as all five buildings in the Lakeview Community Schools district were without power.
Although the staff and students were on holiday break, the district needed to find a way to preserve its boiler systems until the power in the area could be restored – and there was no telling when that would occur. With all area businesses sold out of rental generators, district representatives were given the contact information of Jason Kitts, owner of Rainbow International of Monroe. On Christmas Eve, Kitts sent crews on the three-hour drive from Monroe to Lakeville to all five of the district’s schools, which set up heaters and generators throughout the facilities and used air movers to disperse heat throughout the buildings so pipes and boiler systems wouldn’t freeze. In the high school, for example, five generators, one 900,000 BTU heater, four 1.2 million BTU heaters, 95 extension cords, 70 air movers and four power distribution boxes were necessary.
The heating project lasted for 17 days and was complicated by the fact that the district’s mechanical contractor was unable to quickly acquire replacement parts for damaged heating appliances. All in all, Kitts and his crew were able to preserve four of the five facilities in full, while the fifth building – Lakeview High School – experienced minimal damage.
“This was the first time we did a job just providing heat,” Kitts says. “When people call us here, I try to find a solution to the problem that occurred. We are a full service mitigation and restoration company. This is something we have added to our arsenal, but I know there are companies outside of the restoration world that do nothing but provide temporary heat and air conditioning.”