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Frigid winter weather, thaw causes water woes in Laconia

Union Leader Correspondent

January 10. 2018 12:05PM

Frigid temperatures earlier this month caused pipes to burst in the kitchen of the shuttered Holy Grail of the Lakes restaurant and tavern, flooding the basement of the former church at 14 Veterans Square in Laconia. (Bea Lewis/Union Leader Correspondent)

LACONIA - Two downtown building owners are battling basement flooding as a result of the recent frigid temperatures.

David Gilbert, who owns 664 Main St., said he received a phone call at 5 a.m. Tuesday from the tenant who operates the Laconia Village Bakery, who said she was using a wet vacuum in the basement and was unable to keep up with incoming water.

Gilbert said he called Laconia Water Works and was told a pipe had burst in the adjacent 12 Veterans Square and that the basement of that building, which is on the market for $1.2 million, was heavily flooded.

Assistant Fire Chief Kirk Beattie said his department was called to 12 Veterans Square, a former church that most recently housed The Holy Grail of the Lakes restaurant and tavern, at 2:07 a.m. Jan. 3 for a fire alarm, discovered burst pipes in the kitchen and turned off the water and power.

Jan. 9, at 7:20 a.m., firefighters were called back to the century-old building, which previously served as the Evangelical Baptist Church, for a water leak.

Since Dec. 14, Beattie said, the department has responded to nine burst-pipe calls. As temperatures continue to warm, Beattie predicts the water woes might increase as ice that had been blocking water flow in burst pipes melts.

“We've had quite a stretch of weather from 30 below to today's 32 degrees,” Beattie said Tuesday.

Typically, broken pipes are discovered when the department responds to a fire alarm that is tripped by an activated sprinkler or water leaks into a detector.

“Our biggest responsibility is to make sure there is no further hazard by shutting off the water, the electricity and gas,” he said.

The department also contacts the property owner so that they can start their own repairs.

Gilbert had four small pumps running in the basement of his property and said he was scheduled to close on the sale of the building on Jan. 30.

The Holy Grail of the Lakes, which is owned by David and Maureen Kennedy and Khalid and Wendi Farid, of Hampton, closed in April. It had opened on Memorial Day 2014 after $2.3 million in renovations to the 1836 church, then moved to Veterans Square.

The Kennedys continue to operate The Holy Grail Food & Spirits in Epping.

Public Safety Business Weather Laconia

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