Busted pipe dampens Fiesta Bar and Grill's New Year's Eve

After work-around, celebrations go on

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GREAT BARRINGTON — It's something of a worst case scenario for a restaurateur: Cold water, from a burst pipe, pouring through the dining room ceiling — the day before New Year's Eve, one of the busiest nights for bars and eateries.

But that's what Fiesta Bar & Grill at 284 Main St., had to contend with. On Saturday afternoon a frozen fire-suppressant sprinkler pipe burst on one of the upper-level floors of the multi-use Barrington House and Atrium Shops, said Fire Chief Charles Burger.

It is not yet clear how much water was released or how much the damage will cost to repair. Contact information for the building's owner could not be located. Burger said the damage appeared to be "minimal."

Business owners, however, said water and water damage were mostly confined to the hallway of the Barrington House and Atrium Shops — except in the case of Fiesta. Water began coming through the front dining room ceiling of Fiesta Bar & Grill a little after 3:30 p.m., witnesses said, and was shut off about 10 minutes later after the Great Barrington Fire and Police departments arrived. No injuries were sustained in the incident, the chief said.

"Everybody's fine here," said Fiesta manager Christian Garcia, on Monday morning. "There was a customer in the front who got soaking wet, but they weren't upset."

Garcia said the Mexican restaurant did not let the soggy ceiling ruin their New Year's Eve plans. The restaurant closed the front room and kept the bar and back dining room open.

"It was actually pretty packed," Garcia said. "We're just trying to keep people out of the front and into the back den with the fireplace. We're making due."

Garcia said a contractor is coming Tuesday to fix the damages to Fiesta.

Meanwhile, several other businesses were also impacted by the water. The incident triggered the building's safety alarms and the blaring noise rushed customers out of their seats and out into the cold.

"It was alarming for everybody," said GB Eats co-owner Candice Rischner. "We were not really affected by it, besides losing an hour of business."

At Baba Louie's the alarm came during down time for the eatery.

"It was right around break time, so for us, there wasn't any loss of business and there was no damage," said Baba Louie's assistant manager Stephen Teele. "We only had to evacuate one table."

Burger said he anticipates his fire department will be receiving more calls about burst pipes in the near future. The persistent below-freezing cold snap that's gripped New England for more than a week has frozen many interior and exterior water pipes, he said, but it won't be until the weather warms up a bit and the ice starts to melt that people will realize they have a leaking pipe.

"Everyone should know how to shut their water off," he said. "If you have a faucet or toilet that stopped working, call a plumber to check it out. It won't leak for a while, but suddenly it's a huge leak."

— Kristin Palpini can be reached at kpalpini@berkshireeagle.com and @kristinpalpini on Twitter.

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