Burst pipes keep Salem firefighters busy

SALEM – City firefighters spent a lot of their time Wednesday on water problems, including one which shut down the Peebles clothing store for several hours due to a break in the sprinkler system

Store manager Alex Lester said the business located at 2350 E. State St. in the Salem Plaza opened at 4 p.m., with the water causing no damage to merchandise. The business is normally open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.

“We just had a little bit of a mess to clean up – just a little bit of water damage and some tiles,” she said.

Firefighters were called to the scene at 9:05 a.m. for a sprinkler activation after a police officer had responded for an alarm going off and saw a large amount of water running out from under the glass doors at the front of the store.

The sprinkler system had a break and water was flowing in the front of the store near the entrance. Firefighters shut down the sprinkler system and isolated the flow of water. Tarps were used to cover the merchandise and additional tarps were used to evacuate the water from the building.

The report said the electrical supply had to be shut down, with water flowing through multiple overhead lights. The water had to be evacuated from the light fixtures. Store personnel were told to have the sprinkler system serviced before activating it again.

From there, firefighters responded to Prima Health Care at 564 Second St. at 9:28 a.m. after employees reported a water line break. They had already shut down the water to the building.

Water was coming from the ceiling area in the west hallway and also into the light fixtures in the hallway by the breaker box. The area was checked with the thermal imaging camera and everything appeared okay. Waste baskets were used to collect the water.

The previous shift of firefighters had their share of water breaks, too. They received a call at 3:24 a.m. Wednesday to help a resident turn off the water due to a water line break at the home in the 400 block of East Seventh Street. The resident was able to turn it off before they arrived. They were also called at 11:50 p.m. Tuesday to a residence in the 2500 block of East State Street for a frozen water pipe leaking, helping the resident to turn the water off.

At 5:40 p.m. Tuesday, firefighters were called to Ventra at 800 Pennsylvania Avenue for a sprinkler malfunction in the chemical storage room due to a water line break. The water was shut down for that part of the building. Maintenance was working on removing the water.