Fire crews respond to broken pipe at Shelton senior facility; Is extensive water damage

Just as the Super Bowl got under way Sunday night, Shelton firefighters rushed to the Crosby Commons independent and assisting living facility to deal with a broken ceiling pipe.

A sprinkler system pipe burst and began spilling water, with firefighters responding at about 6:30 p.m. The pipe was in the attic above the second floor.

“It flooded the first and second floors,” said Shelton Fire Chief Fran Jones, who was among those responding to the call for assistance. “Firefighters were able to get there quickly and shut off the sprinkler system.”

The water caused extensive damage to parts of the facility’s west wing, with 29 Crosby Common residents temporarily being moved to different locations or going home with family members.

Firefighters from the Pine Rock Park and Echo Hose companies responded, with almost two dozen volunteer personnel at the scene at the height of the incident.

‘Outstanding work’

Justin Sabatino, Pine Rock Park Fire Company captain, said many members of that fire company had gathered to watch the Super Bowl at the Long Hill Avenue fire station when the call came in.

“All crews did a great job evacuating patients, handling salvage overhaul, and securing all hazards,” said Sabatino, who also was at the scene.

He thanked firefighters for their “professionalism and outstanding work,” noting firefighters and their family members “never complained about missing dinner or the Super Bowl.”

Jones said firefighters often must help at less-than-ideal times. “Volunteer firefighters are there 24/7 to help out — even in the middle of the Super Bowl,” he said.

Water damage to ceiling

Some pieces of ceiling plasterboard as well as attic insulation in the west wing at Crosby Commons fell down due to water saturation.

Firefighters also ripped down some ceiling areas that were badly damaged. “They took down ones that looked like they might come down, all on the second floor,” Jones said.

Jones said many Crosby Commons residents were moved to a large community room during the emergency response, and were able to watch the Super Bowl on a TV.

Echo Hose Ambulance personnel also responded to the scene, but no one required medical attention during the incident.

Crosby Commons is part of the Wesley Village campus operated by the nonprofit United Methodist Homes (UMH).

‘Limited disruption’ to residents

In a prepared statement, UMH said, due to the incident that “a number of residents” in the facility’s west wing had been “relocated either with friends in the building, other apartments, or with family.

“With the help of a cleaning contractor, the Shelton fire department and our staff, we cleaned up the area and ensured that systems were back up and running with as limited disruption to the lives of our residents as possible,” the UMH statement continued.

‘Fire watch’ was maintained at site

After the initial response, Shelton firefighters maintained a “fire watch” at Crosby Commons until the sprinkler and alarm system could be fixed and made fully operational.

Various fire personnel were on the scene until about 1 a.m. Monday, with two firefighters then continuing a “fire watch” at the site until 8 a.m.

It’s unclear exactly what happened with the sprinkler system pipe — whether it may have froze or if it broke due to another cause.