Firestone Warehouse at Mayland Heights

When I was finished, the Crossfield job I was sent to another workplace to help a journeyman test a sprinkler system that had been installed in a cinderblock warehouse that had been built in the Mayland Industrial Park above Barlow Trail which was service by the CPR. It was a new warehouse with a recycled roof, which was taken off of a Scott National produce warehouse that had been located downtown. And the whole sprinkler system from that building was being recycled too. Originally the plan was to leave the sprinkler system branches with the roof sections, but when they lifted the first action off of the roof of the old warehouse it fell breaking all the sprinkler pipes. So all the branch lines were taken out of the roof sections and stored at Trotter and Morton’s yard for a couple years till the new warehouse was finished and the roof reinstalled. When we arrived at the new warehouse in the roof was in place, and all the branch lines were tied in to the sprinkler main, and our job was to do a hydrostatic test and fix any leaks, it sounded simple enough and we figured we would be done in a week. To do the test we had to pressurize the system to 225 pounds, city water pressure was about 60 pounds, well; we turned on the water from the city line. And I tell you, it looked like we had rainstorm inside the building there was 628 sprinkler heads and every one was leaking, plus many other fittings. Storing these branch lines in the yard for two years didn’t help the situation, sprinkler fittings are made cast-iron, and crack easily under the punishment they received left in the outdoors for that period of time.

The warehouse was empty, and it had a 1-ton truck with scaffolding mounted on its flatbed, so it was quite easy to drive around and change all a sprinkler heads, we did this and tried our test again. We got up to 80 pounds, and the leaks started showing at the fittings. So we drove the truck around and started changing out all of the fittings that were leaking, this took more time than the sprinkler heads, which you could do with a crescent wrench and Teflon tape to seal them. The branch lines, started out with 2 inch pipe, and went down to 1/2-inch if my memory serves me correct. So we would start from the smallest diameter and worked back to where the branch tied into the sprinkler main dozens of fittings we would change out and try our test again. 95 pounds pressure, and more leaks we had been on this job over 3 weeks now and had a long, long way to go. On some of the bigger pipe that was 5 inches in diameter we had to use a compound leverage wrench that was called the “Super Six” it was a 60 inch pipe wrench that had two hinges with holes near its head, and a chain vice that was wrapped around the fitting and had a pivot that the hole in the wrench head was attached to, this gave you a lot of extra leverage to tighten pipe in to these big fittings. The warehouse was being built for the Firestone Tire Company plant to store tires in, and that’s what they started to do. Our truck was taken away and tires were stored on the floor 10 feet high. This made the job, a real challenge we had to use a stepladder to get on top of the stacks of tires, and lay planks across them and use extension ladders to climb up to the leaks with our pipe wrenches and replace fittings. We persevered and got the pressure up to 180 pounds, then I was taken off the job and sent back to A.R. Wrights this was in June 1968. I was sent to work on a small steel business that was being built in Manchester District when this was done I was laid-off. That was always the problem in the construction trades its either feast or famine, I had learned a lot of useful skills that would help me out later in life, and had saved enough to tide me over for a while. It was July, and I figured it was time to have a holiday.

Rigid Super Six Compound Leverage Pipe Wrench

(1) Comment   


Plumbing Fittings on 22 April, 2010 at 8:51 am #

PEX plumbing installations require fewer fittings than rigid piping. The flexible tubing can turn 90 degree corners without the need for elbow fittings, and PEX tubing unrolled from spools can be installed in long runs without the need for coupling fittings.

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