As freezing temperatures gripped the US, Texas was left in crisis with thousands left without electricity and heat from an overwhelmed power grid and running water due to burst pipes. Plumbers in Houston have been overwhelmed since the storm wreaked havoc in many parts of the state. A New Jersey plumber saw “a call for help” from Texan plumbers on Facebook, who said they were being overwhelmed by 150 to 200 calls each day. He decided to help so he drove to Houston with a truck full of tools and got to work.
Andrew Mitchell, his wife Kisha Pinnock, and their 2-year-old son, and his apprentice, drove 22 hours from their home in Morristown, N.J., to fix burst pipes for residents of Houston. Before leaving the northeast, the couple bought $2,000 worth of plumbing supplies since they were scarce in Texas. The group arrived in Houston and their first repair was for Pinnock’s sister, who lives in Humble, Texas. She connected them with several neighbors who had been looking to hire plumbers. They quickly enlisted the services of Mitchell’s Plumbing & Heating.
“By the time we got here there were already about four or five jobs lined up from my sister, and we just hit those first and then everything after that has really just referrals from the initial customers, like their friends and family.” Kish Pinnock said once they arrived her husband has been working nonstop locating the damage in collapsed ceilings, frozen walls and – in one harrowing episode – working beside snake eggshells in a crawl space.
Among those relieved to find help was Dedrick Dock of Spring, Texas. He said he’d tried to get at least 15 plumbers out to his house before he heard about Mitchell’s Plumbing & Heating on social media from a friend’s neighbor. Dock and his family had been staying with relatives for more than a week because of a broken pipe in the garage. “We had to relocate for over a week because we needed to get someone out there,” he said. “And of course, with the plumbers here they were already overwhelmed with the work that was going on.”
The group had planned to return home after a week, but Mitchell decided to work until he ran out of material and is considering a return trip to the area if plumbers are still overwhelmed. “Last night, Andrew did not get back home until two in the morning and he was out of here by 07:30 this morning. He’s always been dedicated to his craft” Pinnock says. “A lot of the people we’ve helped were telling us they either can’t get a plumber on the phone or – if they do get one on the phone – the wait to be serviced is three to four weeks out, so they can’t have water during that entire time,” said Pinnock.