WILTON — A broken sprinkler head in the front entrance of Tractor Supply Co. sent water throughout the store Thursday morning and gave about a dozen customers a shower as they escaped into frigid temperatures.
The sprinkler head froze and broke, Wilton fire Chief Sonny Dunham said. Apparently, an electrical outlet shorted as well, leaving smoke in the store at 979 Route 2, he said.
Firefighters started clearing water after four departments responded to the 9:36 a.m. alarm.
A customer, Jessica Thimlar of Chesterville, said she watched from the parking lot as a portion of the ceiling near the front of the building fell and a cascade of water came with it. Smoke followed, she said.
According to Thimlar, about a dozen customers were in the store and had to walk under the collapsed ceiling and through the falling water to get out the front door.
The employees did a good job making sure everyone was out of the building, she said, as she stood in wet pants in freezing temperatures.
Management planned to reopen at 4 p.m. Thursday, according to an employee who referred other questions to the store’s corporate office.
No one was injured in the incident.
Firefighters from Farmington, Jay and East Dixfield helped Wilton at the scene. Wilton cleared the scene in about 90 minutes.
Store management was contacting the head office and working to get the sprinkler and alarm fixed, he said.