Apartment residents reeling after water damage forces evacuations in Newark, Delaware

Apartment residents reeling after water damage forces evacuations in Newark, Delaware

NEWARK, Del. (WPVI)– Rescue workers in Newark, Delaware, evacuated over 100 residents from a local apartment complex Wednesday night because of a ruptured sprinkler pipe.

Now the residents of the village of Fountainview are reeling from the temporary loss of their homes.

The cause of the burst pipe is still under investigation, officials say.

Residents of the building say they are grateful no one was injured as clean-up efforts are underway.

On Thursday, they began removing whatever items they could from their condos after the top-floor pipe burst, causing water to cascade throughout the building.

A total of 120 residents were evacuated from 64 units in the four-story complex.

“It comes as a surprise to you. We were getting ready for dinner at 6pm last night when the alarm went off to evacuate the building,” said resident Robert Brown.

On Thursday morning, the emergency services were able to eliminate the burst pipe. According to local officials, it was too dark Wednesday night for crews to properly search for the burst pipe.

However, residents are not yet able to return home.

“I don’t like being moved from my apartment, I like staying in my place,” said another resident, Pam Gately.

Residents also had to get their pets out safely, which was a struggle for some.

“She’s very nervous,” Gately said, referring to her dog.

The housing association’s sprinkler contractor was on site Thursday morning. There was also a restoration company on site that performed water purification, as well as contractors who inspected fire and electrical systems.

“With the sprinkler system failing, there is also no fire protection in the building,” noted Lawrence Tan, the public information officer for Aetna House in Newark. “So part of that process is certainly having a vendor come in and restore the sprinkler system.”

Most displaced people live with friends or family during this time. The city’s building inspector assesses the damage and decides when people can move back in.

To date, electricity and water have been restored in half of the units. However, officials say they cannot be remanned until the sprinkler or alarm system comes back online.