Some water damage at Sheila NaGeira Theatre
Carbonear auditorium had two pipes burst backstage Jan. 5
One of the big concerns during a blackout in freezing temperatures is the possibility that water pipes could burst in affected homes.
Another concern is the possibility businesses, organizations and municipal buildings could have similar issues. That is exactly what happened at the Princess Sheila NaGeira Theatre in the Conception Bay Regional Community Centre in Carbonear Sunday Jan. 5 after more than 24 hours without power.
During what many are calling Blackout 2014, areas of Conception Bay North experienced chilling temperatures in the -30 degree Celsius range with the windchill. Some places, including the community centre, had no power from 9 a.m. Jan. 4 until the following morning. For other municipalities in the area, the blackout lasted longer.
When the power returned to the theatre, several sprinkler system heads backstage had frozen from the lack of heat. As a result, two pipes burst, causing a significant leak. Water poured out of the broken pipes, onto the floor, but diverted over the nearby stairs.
There is some water damage on the ceilings, and buckets placed under the pipes.
The sprinkler system is connected to the emergency panel, and it alerted the fire department immediately after bursting.
Fire Chief Ed Kavanagh said the call came in at 10 a.m., when power returned, but the department couldn’t do much to help.
“There was nothing we could do because there wasn’t enough water for our pumps,” he told The Compass. “There was water around the stage area. That’s when we knew a couple of pipes has burst.”
Carbonear’s town administrator Cynthia Davis told The Compass on a walk-through Jan. 7 that it could have been much worse.
Only a small pool of water made its way across the stage, but no equipment in the theatre was damaged in the incident.
Two pipes hung from the ceiling, and a small leak was still visible, but officials had contacted a company to fix the situation.
Linda Gallant, who manages the theatre, said the next scheduled event for the theatre is Revue 2013 by Rising Tide Theatre scheduled Jan. 21-26. It will go ahead as scheduled.
This was not the only pipe issue to take place on the morning of Jan. 5.
Foodland supermarket also had several pipes burst, but luckily it was at the main entrance. The store was still using the exit for incoming and outgoing traffic on Jan. 7.
Since the sprinkler issues, several more pipe issues have been reported to the town, including two residents in the downtown area. One led to the closure of part of Water Street, near the post office, Jan. 8.