Frozen pipes, burst sprinkler systems and no hot water were among the problems facing Vancouver Islanders this weekend, and it closed a Nanaimo warming centre with 25 people staying there.
Nanaimo firefighters say they don’t recall so many burst pipes in buildings in a single day as Saturday.
People evacuated some Cresent View Drive apartments Sunday after the emergency alarms went off because of a burst pipe.
“A lot of water coming down through the top unit flooding on the parking lot, and there was a guy in his unit chucking down buckets of water from his window because the flooding was that bad,” said Max Kenny, a building resident.
At the former Nanaimo bakery building on Bowen Road, they’re trying to dry out the City of Nanaimo-funded warming centre following a burst sprinkler pipe in the attic Saturday night.
It forced the vulnerable to stay inside out into the cold while another plan was hatched.
“It couldn’t happen on a worse night for people that are living rough in the community, and like I said, we had about 25 people in there, which is what we wanted to see, but it’s uninhabitable at this point to keep them anywhere in there,” said Barry Hornby, the Senior Community Safety Officer with the City of Nanaimo.
They ended up busing them to Samaritan Place in Nanaimo’s south end, also run by the Island Crisis Care Society.
It capped a day of firefighters responding to similar calls.
One saw water damage to the Annex Law Courts building.
“As far as I’m aware, I think five incidences in which sprinkler systems have failed due to the weather. This happens when it gets cold. I can’t remember happening to this frequency as in this many in one day,” said Captain Ian Stenberg with Nanaimo Fire Rescue Saturday night.
Firefighters responded to the Bowen Road Warming Centre building twice Sunday after more breaks to its sprinkler system.
“The restoration folks have been really amazing at cleaning up some messes as quickly as possible, so while there will be significant issues to address ongoing, what we’re hoping is that we can open up to meet the immediate need of people that are cold right now,” said Corrie Corfield with the Island Crisis Care Society.
But after further assessment of the damage, it’s decided to keep the warming centre at Samaritan Place Sunday night.
They’re appealing for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and instant soups to help feed their clients this evening.