Water damage at Sheila NaGeira Theatre

Carbonear auditorium has two pipes burst backstage Jan. 5

Melissa Jenkins melissa.jenkins@tc.tc
Published on January 8, 2014
A pipe at the Sheila NaGeira Theatre in Carbonear still hangs from the ceiling backstage.

One of the big concerns during a blackout in freezing temperatures is the possibility that pipes could burst in affected homes.

One of the big concerns during a blackout in freezing temperatures is the possibility that pipes could burst in affected homes.

Another concern is the possibility businesses, organizations and municipal buildings could have similar issues. That is exactly what happened at the Princess Sheila NaGeira Theatre in the Conception Bay Regional Community Centre in Carbonear Sunday Jan. 5 after more than 24 hours without power.

During what many are calling Blackout 2014, areas of Conception Bay North experienced chilling temperatures in the -30 degree Celsius range with the windchill. Some places, including the community centre, had no power from 9 a.m. Jan. 4 until the following morning. For other municipalities in the area, the blackout lasted longer.

When the power returned to the theatre, several sprinkler system heads backstage had frozen from the lack of heat. As a result, two pipes burst, causing a significant leak. Water poured out of the broken pipes, onto the floor, but diverted over the nearby stairs.

There is some water damage on the ceilings, and buckets placed under the pipes.

The sprinkler system is connected to the emergency panel, and it alerted the fire department immediately after bursting.

Fire Chief Ed Kavanagh said the call came in at 10 a.m., when power returned, but the department couldn’t do much to help.

“There was nothing we could do because there wasn’t enough water for our pumps,” he told The Compass. “There was water around the stage area. That’s when we knew a couple of pipes has burst.”

Carbonear’s town administrator Cynthia Davis told The Compass on a walk-through Jan. 7 that it could have been much worse.

Only a small pool of water made its way across the stage, but no equipment in the theatre was damaged in the incident.

Two pipes hung from the ceiling, and a small leak was still visible, but officials have contacted a company to fix the situation.

Due to other issues in the region of a similar nature, Davis said it could be several days before the problem can be addressed.

An organizer for the Country Jamboree event at the theatre posted on the town’s social media accounts Jan. 8 the concert that is supposed to take place this Friday, Jan. 10 will be cancelled, but the next one — dated for Feb. 14 — will go ahead as scheduled.

Linda Gallant, who manages the theatre, said the next scheduled event for the theatre after this weekend is Revue 2013 by Rising Tide Theatre scheduled Jan. 21-26 will go ahead as scheduled.


Not only issue

This was not the only pipe issue to take place on the morning of Jan. 5.

Foodland supermarket also had several pipes burst, but luckily it was at the main entrance. The store was still using the exit for incoming and outgoing traffic on Jan. 7.

Since the sprinkler issues, several more pipe issues have been reported to the town, including two residents in the downtown area. One lead to the closure of part of Water Street, near the post office, Jan. 8.

Town officials confirmed they are doing everything they can to fix any issues caused from freezing pipes.

Town works superintendent Brian O’Grady was on site of a pipe issue Jan. 7 after hours, and even cleared an alternate route for locals to access the laneway affected.

Anyone having issues with freezing pipes or other temperature related issues caused from recent weather and blackout conditions is asked to contact the town hall at 596-3831.