Four apartments, ballroom remain closed in Norwich Wauregan Apartments

Norwich — Tenants in four apartments will be displaced throughout the weekend, and a Sweet 16 birthday party planned for the Wauregan Ballroom on Saturday also must find a new location as cleanup crews continue to repair damage from a sprinkler pipe burst Thursday evening in a sixth-floor apartment.

Bruce Becker, president of Wauregan Apartments owner Becker & Becker Associates, said electricians want to allow wiring in four water-soaked apartments time to dry out before restoring power to those units. Becker estimated tenants will be able to move back in on Monday.

On Thursday evening, a portion of a plastic sprinkler pipe in a sixth-floor apartment burst, and water made its way through floors and ceilings all the way to the ground floor, city Director of Inspections James Troeger said Thursday night.

The historical second-floor ballroom also was flooded, but Becker said the WinnResidential property management team quickly responded and dried out the ballroom's hardwood floor, likely saving it. Plaster in the ballroom was damaged, however, and the room — along with the entire flooded area — must be aired out to avoid mold.

Becker said some of the displaced tenants are staying in temporary housing and others are staying with relatives through the weekend.

Becker credited quick action by the Norwich Fire Department to shut off the sprinkler system and quick cleanup by WinnResidential crews for preventing significant further damage. “We're getting good at this,” he said.

The 70-unit apartment building has had a history of sprinkler pipe bursts dating back to several months after Becker & Becker completed a $20 million renovation in 2006. Becker has sought compensation from the manufacturer and replaced piping throughout the system that snakes through the five- and six-story building. The last pipe burst occurred Sept. 27, 2013, so Becker had hoped the problem had been resolved.

Thursday's break occurred in a small section of original pipe that remained in the same apartment where the first burst occurred in 2007, Becker said Friday. He speculated that the section was located in a hard-to-reach spot, and since it remained functioning properly, was left in place.

Norwich Fire Chief and Fire Marshal Kenneth Scandariato said the cause of the break has not yet been determined.

c.bessette@theday.com

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