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Burst pipes cause mess, little damage at Players, Bagel Mill

PETERBOROUGH — Bitter cold over the weekend led to broken pipes at both the Peterborough Players theater and the Bagel Mill in Peterborough, causing some water damage but no significant interruption at either location.

Peterborough firefighters went to the theater early Saturday after a pipe behind the wall in a men’s room burst.

“It happened in the middle of the night,” said Keith Stevens, the theater’s managing director, on Monday. “The steam from the freezing water was enough to trigger the smoke alarm, which alerted the Fire Department. If that hadn’t happened, it could have been much worse.”

Stevens said he arrived at about 3 a.m., just as firefighters were pulling in. Once the source of the alarm was found, water was turned off and there was little damage, Stevens said.

No events were scheduled for Saturday night or Sunday at the theater, and Stevens said he expects the men’s room should be available by the coming weekend.

“This was nothing like two years ago when a sprinkler pipe went,” he said.

On Monday morning, a broken pipe resulted in about two inches of water in the Bagel Mill on Grove Street Extension, which briefly delayed the business’s opening.

“My baker called me at about 4 a.m. when he got in,” owner Jim Martens said. “It was a mess. We shut off the water as fast as we could.”

Martens and baker Ian Gamble pushed as much water as possible out of the building and cranked up the heat, then mopped up the floor.

Martens said the pipe was quickly repaired.

“Wilder Plumbing got here really fast,” he said. “We only started about an hour late.”

In the afternoon, Martens was using wet-vacs to remove moisture from the carpeted sections of the business.

“It wasn’t a fun day, but I was thankful that we got it taken care of,” Martens said.

On Monday, Peterborough Fire Chief Joe Lenox provided several recommendations from the NH Public Risk Management Exchange regarding frozen pipes. Building temperatures should be kept consistent and never less than 55 degrees F. Areas where water supply lines are located should be insulated and pipes in basements, crawl spaces or along outside walls should be insulated with pipe sleeves or other material. If a pipe might be susceptible to freezing, leave water running at a trickle, but do not consider that to be a permanent solution. And never use torches or devices with an open flame to thaw frozen pipes.

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