GREENSBORO, NC -- It is one thing to come home to your kitchen and see ceiling debris on the floor but as a Greensboro woman experienced, it's a whole other story to be standing in your kitchen when your entire ceiling starts to fall.
"It's weird standing in here," Meaka Jones said.
Weird because Jones is standing in her kitchen with a gaping hole over her head.
"I couldn't wash, I couldn't wash dishes, clean up or anything. By that time, maintenance got here and their faces looked like mine. They was like...," Jones said, animated.
To hear her tell it, it was a dramatic Tuesday evening in her apartment after the Triad had spent all day in sub-freezing temperatures.
Around 7 P.M., it was Jones' turn to feel the wrath: her pipes froze and burst.
Water -- raining in her kitchen.
"I got the trash can, I got buckets, I got pots, because it was leaking from the light, I had buckets here, I had buckets here from the vents, my whole living room, kitchen so now I have the back door open, so I'm pushing it out with a broom and I'm throwing clothes on it and towels and nothing was seeming to work," she explained.
Meaka thought that was the worst of it. But then, there came more.
"I just heard some cracks and little pieces started falling so I'm like 'ooooh!' trying to run. By the time I got here the whole ceiling was falling. I had to dive! I had to dive on my stomach and I was like, 'Oh, my God.' My adrenaline was pumping," she said.
Broken pipe calls have kept Bruce Shockley and his team busy.
"What happens when water freezes is that it exerts extreme amounts of pressure. The pipes aren't rated for that amount of pressure and therefore they break," Shockley explained.
In an average week, Shockley who is the owner of the central North Carolina Roto-Rooter operation, says they get 3 or 4 calls about burst pipes. So far this week? More than 200 and counting.
"There's one thing that you people should remember if their pipes do freeze: and that's turn off the water. Because when it thaws up it can do a whole lot of damage," he said.
Something Jones is learning the hard way.
"I just didn't think it could be me," Jones added.
Meaka says she hurt herself when she dove to get away from the falling ceiling
she's 3 months pregnant. She did go to the hospital but says the baby is fine.
As for her ceiling - she's waiting for maintenance to come and fix it.
To avoid pipes from freezing and bursting, Shockley advises,
- Be sure any outside vents in your home are closed to reduce cold air from creeping in
- Wrap electrical heat tape around pipes that are not insulated
-Be sure to know how to turn off your water, in case your pipes do freeze.