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Fisher Cats stadium, T.J. Maxx Plaza damaged when pipes burst

MANCHESTER - Frozen pipes at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium, the T.J. Maxx Plaza and private homes kept firefighters busy Monday morning.

District Chief Al Poulin said a sprinkler pipe vent in a wall of the stadium behind home plate at the home of the minor-league New Hampshire Fisher Cats burst, causing about $30,000 in damage to carpet, drywall and ceilings in surrounding rooms.

A water-flow alarm alerted the fire department to the problem, but Poulin said, it did not indicate where the pipe was located inside the stadium.

Compounding the problem, the closest fire personnel were already out at a small fire on Morrison Street, near Pearl Street, which meant firefighters assigned to stations farther away took the call at the stadium.

He estimated it took another 10 to 15 minutes for firefighters to locate the leak and gain access to the room where the sprinkler was located.

Poulin said at TJ Maxx Plaza, 30 March Ave., a pipe for a sprinkler system burst inside a vacant store, filling it with about two inches of water, which seeped into the stores on either side of it - Boston Market and Dots Clothing.

He said some residents also called for help with burst pipes. He explained that as the weather warms up, once-frozen pipes expand, causing them to burst.

He cautioned everyone not to use open flames - cigarette lighters or torches - to try to unfreeze pipes. Instead, he said, use a warm towel, hair dryer or, better yet, call a plumber.

Poulin also is asking residents to help firefighters by digging out fire hydrants and clearing storm drains in their neighborhoods. He said there are 4,500 fire hydrants in the city and only two Manchester Water Works employees assigned to dig them out.

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