View full sizeSALEM — Nearly all residents were allowed to return to their apartments at Broadway Towers over the weekend after the sprinkler system caused heavy water damage in part of the building last week.
After the elevators, security, water suppression system and fire equipment were checked, all but one resident were given approval to return to their apartments Saturday afternoon, according to Salem City Housing Authority Executive Director Dr. Isaac Young.
Residents were evacuated from the seven-story, senior citizen high-rise at the corner of East Broadway and Seventh Street Wednesday evening.
A cooking fire in a second-floor apartment activated the building’s sprinkler system. The fire was quickly put out, but the sprinkler system kept running, causing flooding in the building.
Room 202, where the fire took place, was still being cleaned up Monday, Young said, adding that the resident who lives there is likely staying with family.
The first floor of the building is still being worked on and the administrative office of the housing authority — located directly under Room 202 — is still in disarray, Young said.
“We’re going to be in repair for quite some time,” he said.
The rugs on the first floor were taken out and wet tiles were removed immediately after the fire.
The computers and copy machines in the administrative office are inoperable. Young stated that someone will come to evaluate the cost of replacing them. However, the phones are working.
ServPro installed heaters, hot air blowers and dehumidifiers to help dry out the soaked areas. Stong Fire Protection and Otis Elevator Company also helped with repairs and restoration.
None of the floors above the second floor were affected by water damage. However, all residents were initially evacuated in case power to the entire building was shut off for electricians to work on the bottom two floors.
The food in residents’ refrigerators were spoiled after power was shut off throughout the building.
Young said that he is not sure of the total bill for repairs, equipment and services, but he estimated that it would cost $88,000 to get Broadway Towers back to its former state.
For services from ServPro alone, which is doing cleanup work, he estimated the cost to be between $20,000 to $25,000.
He expects the building’s insurance company to pick up most of the cost.
The circuits on the first floor are not working properly and also need to be replaced.
Young is not sure if the circuits are original to the building, which was built in the 1960s.
“The housing authority is going to have to compensate transportation for tenants from here to Carneys Point and back,” he added, referring to the seven residents who the American Red Cross transported from Broadway Towers to the Econo Lodge in Carneys Point.
All of the other two dozen residents were able to stay with family and friends after being evacuated.
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