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Fixing frozen pipes keeping Billings restoration companies busy

Restoration Companies at work
Posted at 6:08 PM, Jan 15, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-16 11:37:54-05

As the weather continues to be brutally cold in Montana, many businesses and homes are stuck dealing with frozen pipes.

Those damages mean a lot of extra business for restoration companies, who are doing what they can to help get water back up and running.

Lisa's Sandwhich Den, located in downtown Billings, is among the many places in town affected by the cold. On Monday, they were forced to keep their doors closed because their pipes had frozen and they didn't have any running water.

"I can't run a restaurant without water," said owner Lisa Gilbert. "It's very devastating. I need people to keep my dream alive."

Gilbert said that the forced closure couldn't have come at a worse time, as her business has been struggling anyway, and she was hoping remaining open on a day many businesses were closed would have helped.

"It's been extremely slow downtown," Gilbert said. "I just thought today would be a day for us to maybe get ahead."

Instead, Gilbert had to keep the doors closed, losing any potential extra business.

"I was very emotional," Gilbert said. "We were hoping that we could be open and make a little extra money."

Gilbert's problems are much like many others in the city. Billings Carpet and Water Damage Restoration owner Andy Pirami said they've received double digit calls since Friday.

"It's been a lot, which is kind of surprising because typically those calls don't come in until after the weather warms back up and things start to thaw," Pirami said.

Pirami said he and his team have been working basically all hours of the day and night trying to help those in need.

"I was out with crews last night working until late in the night," Pirami said. "Got back out this morning, another pops out early and guys were back out. Unfortunately, this time of year, the guys don't get a lot of sleep."

Pirami said it's a busy time for his team, but that it's typically what happens every year.

"We are here ready to serve," Pirami said. "Our guys all have that service mentality and we're helping with as many jobs as we can just moving from one to the next to the next."

And the good news is they won't be receiving a call from Gilbert, who got her running water back on Monday afternoon.

"I'm excited to see that we can actually open for business tomorrow," Gilbert said. "I was worried the delay would be longer."