A BRUNSWICK FIRE DEPARTMENT crew works to remove water from Pedro O’Hara’s restaurant.

A BRUNSWICK FIRE DEPARTMENT crew works to remove water from Pedro O’Hara’s restaurant.

BRUNSWICK

Sprinkler pipes bursting in frigid air caused damage to two businesses.

The Brunswick Fire Department responded to Pedro O’Hara’s restaurant along Maine Street Sunday morning after a sprinkler pipe burst and flooded the restaurant sometime overnight.

Brunswick Deputy Fire Chief Jeff Emerson said the fire department got the call at 8:49 a.m. He said a component of the sprinkler service broke where it enters the building, creating “a substantial water flow into the structure” that was contained to the lower level of the building.

Upon arrival, Brunswick Fire Capt. Bob Robitaille saw 3 or 4 feet of standing water in the restaurant and called for electricity, gas and water utilities to be shut down.

“Everything was floating,” Emerson said.

The fire department pumped water out of the building and into a storm water drain outside. Fire crews were dealing with freezing temperatures, and any spilled water quickly turned to ice. Crews cleared the scene at 11:04 a.m., Emerson said.

Emerson said the sprinkler system was repaired Monday. Richard’s Restaurant, on the main level of the building at 115 Maine St., was able to reopen Monday.

Tenants on the second floor were uninterrupted.

Pedro O’Hara’s will likely take quite a bit of time before it can reopen due to the extensive damage, which will likely involve some recon- struction, Emerson said.

Center Street was closed off while crews responded.

The restaurant owners declined comment Monday.

Brunswick firefighters also responded at 3:13 p.m. Monday to a report of a fire alarm at a Bath Iron Works facility.

Brunswick Fire Capt. Matthew Barnes said an overhead sprinkler had broken in the break room, likely caused by a surge in water pressure somewhere within the system.

Firefighters don’t know exactly what caused the sprinkler head to burst, which was in the ceiling.

They were able to isolate the problem, shut the sprinkler system off, replace the sprinkler head and get the system back up and running, Barnes said.

Anytime there is a water flow, a fire alarm is activated and the fire department responds as if it were a fire, he said.

Barnes said the water damage at the Harding Plant was minimal. With about 2 inches of water on the floor, fire crews started with shovels and were able to “squeegee” the water from the building and empty it into storm drains.

The plant has its own fire brigade and took over cleanup with shop vacuums to remove any remaining moisture.

Brunswick Fire Department cleared the scene at about 4 p.m.

Barnes said the cold has likely contributed to some recent broken sprinkler systems in town. When it is cold, pipes can crack and break but remain frozen. When the weather warms — such as to the 45-degree temperatures forecast for Wednesday — and these pipes thaw, fire fighters can potentially see “pipes bursting everywhere.”


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