The front entrance to the Fisher House, which provides accommodations to families of veterans, is shown Thursday on the campus of the Togus VA Medical Center. The facility first opened for guests in 2020, but has been closed since October due to a broken sewer pipe. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal

AUGUSTA — The facility that provides free accommodations for families of veterans who are seeking care at the Togus VA Medical Center has been closed for nearly four months due to a broken sewer pipe and officials say they expect to know more later this month.

The Fisher House, they say, is being evaluated for settlement issues.

On Oct. 21, the Fisher House was closed due to potential damage to a sewer line, Jonathan Barczyk, public affairs specialist for the VA Maine Healthcare System-Togus, said via email Thursday.

A sewer investigation company was hired to assess the condition of the line, and its initial review indicates the damage may have been caused by the building settlement.

“Some settlement of the house was expected to occur, as with most new construction, due to foundation consolidation after placement of the new building load,” Barczyk said.

The final sewer investigation report is due Jan. 20.


Barczyk said Veterans Affairs is planning on a larger structural evaluation to determine if this amount of settling is normal.

“This larger structural evaluation will be a much more comprehensive process, and an anticipated date of completion is unknown at this time,” he said. “We will work with the Fisher House Foundation to review the results of these evaluations and determine the best way forward.”

Fisher Houses are built by the nonprofit Fisher House Foundation at Veterans Affairs facilities across the country and donated to the U.S. government. They are essentially long-stay hotels that feature private suites, kitchen, dining, living and laundry facilities for families of veterans seeking treatment.

Officials broke ground for the Fisher House on the Togus campus in August 2018, and held a dedication ceremony three years later, although it opened for guests in February 2020. It is the only such facility in the state.

While the Fisher House is closed, free lodging for veterans’ families has been and will continue to be provided via the Fisher House Foundation’s Hotels for Heroes program, according to the statement. Since the October closure, housing has been provided for 98 families.

The Hotels for Heroes program provides hotel rooms when Fisher Houses are not available.


The 13,500-square-foot building has 16 suites and is directly across from the VA’s medical facility.

Because the Fisher House is a federal facility, local building officials have no jurisdiction to inspect it.

The Togus complex serves an estimated 42,500 veterans per year through a variety of services, including the 67-operating bed medical center that also has 100 beds for other care, such as hospice.

Established in 1866, Togus is the oldest veterans’ facility in the country. It sits on some 500 acres about 5 miles east of Augusta.

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