Three times is not a charm for residents living at a seniors housing complex in Williams Lake who were forced out due to a sprinkler system rupture Monday just before dinner.
It is the third time it’s happened since December 2018.
On Feb. 3 at around 4:40 p.m. pipes in the attic burst in Glen Arbor on Oliver Street, flooding areas of the building and forcing the evacuation of all 34 residents.
Building manager Miles Faulkner said the sprinkler system broke in the north end in 2018, at the south end two weeks ago on Jan. 19, and this time it burst in the middle of the attic.
Some of the residents had just moved in last week after the Jan. 19 incident, he confirmed.
“Maybe there is a problem with the original installation? Maybe it’s defective piping?” Faulkner said as he was busy moving his office into another room because his was water damaged. “It’s all just speculation at this point. Nobody knows.”
Tenants will not be allowed to move back in until the building is properly protected, he said.
“All the sprinkler systems in the suites work, but the attic sprinkler system doesn’t work because it’s broken so without that we don’t have the proper protection if there is a fire.”
Each time there’s been a flood, it’s been stressful for tenants, Faulkner said.
“They have to get up and leave everything they own — it’s really hard for them.”
Jack Bradshaw has lived in the building since it opened in 2004 and stopped by Tuesday afternoon to pick up a few belongings.
He said he was getting ready to go out for dinner on Monday with a friend when the alarm in the building went off and a message came over the intercom telling tenants not to use the elevator.
Most of the people living in the building are in their 90s, he added.
“One woman across the hall from me is turning 95 today — Feb. 4. I have a card for her and everything but it’s in my room and she is staying at the Coast Fraser Inn.”
Bradshaw’s suite is OK this time but in 2018 he was out four months.
“I’ve been saying they need to change all the pipes,” he said. “They will figure it out, but they’ve got to put an end to this. I’m tired of it.”
The Williams Lake Fire Department assisted with the evacuation.
“Duty Chief Rob Warnock responded at 4:43 p.m. and once on scene realized the magnitude of the leak and that residents would need to be evacuated,” Chief Erick Peterson said.
Warnock requested additional firefighters and two trucks with 12 members arrived to assist residents in collecting belongings and relocating to local hotels.
“As always, the WLFD were happy to assist,” Peterson added.