January 30, 2013

Mild day leads to burst pipes on College Avenue

Vacant former John Martin's Manor restaurant floods as temperatures rise Wednesday

By Rachel Ohm rohm@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

WATERVILLE -- Warmer temperatures following last week's extreme lows led to flooding Wednesday afternoon in a former restaurant on College Avenue.

The extreme cold last week froze water in the pipes at the former John Martin's Manor restaurant, and the deluge began when the temperatures rose Wednesday, Waterville Fire Department Capt. Mike Michaud said.

"This building has been vacant for some time and it wasn't heated. However, there was water in the sprinkler system," said Michaud. "Now that we finally have a warm day, the pipes burst in several places."

There appeared to be several inches of standing water in the basement and on the first floor of the building at 54 College Ave., and water was spilling out of the entrance when firefighters arrived around 2:45 p.m., he said.

According to meteorologist Mike Kristner at the National Weather Service in Gray, temperatures reached 45 degrees Wednesday afternoon in Waterville. He said the temperature should reach 55 degrees by midnight Wednesday and remain in the low 50s on Thursday.

Don Barberino, who manages the building owned by Connecticut-based Sportech, said it has been vacant since May 2011. The damage inside was minimal, he said Wednesday afternoon.

"It's not too bad, just 1 or 2 inches of water on the first floor and in the basement," he said.

Michaud said it also looked as though the ceiling had collapsed in some parts of the building.

He said the flood report was the third call the Fire Department had received this week related to frozen and flooding pipes.

Skip Morrissette, a customer service representative for the Kennebec Water District, who also responded to the scene Wednesday, said flooding is common this time of year when the heat has been turned off.

"People should have the water off if a building is vacant and there is no heat in the wintertime. Otherwise it can result in a lot of water damage," he said.

Rachel Ohm -- 612-2368

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