Steam rolls up the hallway at the New Sharon Town Office on Tuesday after a steam pipe from the furnace burst in a back room used for storage. The building is closed until further notice, Selectperson Lorna Nichols said Wednesday. Courtesy photo

NEW SHARON — The Town Office is closed until further notice because an asbestos steam pipe from the furnace ruptured in a storage room Tuesday afternoon, flooding parts of the building.

Town Treasurer Erin Norton and Mercy Hanson, who works for the New Sharon Water District, were in the building at the time.

“We are thankful no one was seriously hurt or injured,” Selectperson Lorna Nichols said.

Town officials are asking everyone to “please stay out of the building until we can determine what next steps need to be taken for the safety of employees, elected officials, volunteers and the public,” Nichols wrote in a notice posted on the town website,

“We’ve cut power to the furnace for now,” she said, and Meader Electric LLC of New Sharon has cut power to the lights.

Furnace technicians will look at what can or cannot be repaired, she wrote in the notice.

The cost to repair or replace the pipe is estimated at no more than $4,000, Selectman  Travis Pond said.

Norton was checking with Kyes Insurance to see if the town’s policy covers temporary office space or a trailer, according to Nichols.

Chesterville is allowing New Sharon employees to do some day-to-day work at its office, Nichols said.

Town Clerk Pamela Griswold and Norton were to check with Industry and Starks officials to see if they could help with vehicle registration and other services.

Residents can pay property taxes and register vehicles or renew registrations online at

The Board of Selectmen will meet to discuss the next step once they know what options are available. Nichols did not know where the meeting would take place as of Wednesday morning.

The Town Office was built about 1949 and formerly housed the high school and Regional School Unit 9’s Central Office.

Pond told residents at the 2017 town meeting that the building had a mold problem and the kitchen, restrooms and other rooms downstairs aren’t usable. Nichols said then that an air quality test in 2016 showed trace amounts of mold.

Voters at that meeting rejected a $1.8 million proposal to build a town office and fire station at the current Town Office site by a vote of 71-58.

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