WEST MIFFLIN (KDKA) — A major sprinkler system problem forced about 100 people from their apartments at a senior citizen high-rise in West Mifflin Monday night.
The break happened around 8 p.m. at West Mifflin Manor, a seven-story complex operated by the Allegheny County Housing Authority, in the 2400 block of Sharp Avenue.
West Mifflin: Water main break inside apartment building – 2400 block Sharp Ave.; Port Authority has been requested for buses for displaced residents. Responders at scene.
— Allegheny County (@Allegheny_Co) January 16, 2018
Officials say the break happened on the fifth floor. Water damage to the high-rise was described as extensive, all the way down to the basement.
“On the fifth floor, we found a two-inch sprinkler pipe had burst. It had frozen and burst, and it was flowing water. As a result, the fire pump activated, which increased the water flow,” said West Mifflin Fire Chief Mike Egnac. “So we had to shut the water off to the building, the power off to the building, and evacuate the people because without water and power, they have no heat.”
While the investigation into what caused the break continues, officials say they believe a window may have been left open, which caused the sprinkler to freeze.
Housing Authority says open window may have caused sprinkler pipe to freeze and burst, flooding West Mifflin Manor high rise pic.twitter.com/xF7xnG3EWt
— Ralph Iannotti (@IannottiRalph) January 16, 2018
The Red Cross says about 100 residents were evacuated from the building. A shelter was opened for them at West Mifflin High School. From there, plans were being made to put up as many evacuees as possible in area hotels.
“The alarm went off in the building, and you couldn’t hear yourself think, and one of the guys told me that it was a water main break,” said building resident Kenneth Manns.
Port Authority buses were brought to transport the residents to the high school shelter.
No injuries were reported, and there’s no word on how long the residents will be out of the building.
Seven fire departments responded to the scene.