RUMFORD — A broken sprinkler head on the fifth floor of Rumford Island Housing drenched five floors and forced elderly and disabled occupants to leave their apartments temporarily Wednesday morning, Rumford Fire Chief Robert Chase said.

“It takes a while to get the system shut off so the water flowed for several minutes (and) it was on the fifth floor, so the water drained down through all the lower levels, causing damage,” he said.

Many businesses on the first floor of the six-story building on Congress Street sustained water damage.

“We used shop vacs and equipment to try and vacuum as much standing water as we could to keep from it from filtering down through all the floors,” Chase said.

A company was contacted to clean up the damage and dry out the floors.

Chase said he was not sure why the year-old sprinkler head in the fifth-floor hallway failed.

Firefighters collect water draining into a first-floor business of the Rumford Island Housing complex on Congress Street in Rumford on Wednesday morning. A sprinkler head on the fifth floor broke, sending water cascading through the floors. 

A broken fire protection sprinkler head caused significant water damage inside the Rumford Island Housing building Wednesday morning.

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