Salvation Army residents displaced due to water main break
Calgary Salvation Army residents woke up early Saturday morning to the sound of an alarm and water caving in the ceiling.
Around 7 a.m., a water main break on the fourth floor started leaking to levels below in the Centre of Hope.
“It was coming down like Niagara Falls,” said resident Jeff Spong. “It was just spewing out like five fire hoses with the amount of [pressure] that was shooting out of there. The ceiling from the fourth floor started falling and caving in. We had to evacuate. We had to leave that area immediately.”
“It was pretty traumatic when you first wake up,” he added.
In a statement to Global News, the Salvation Army said all residents were evacuated.
“The fourth floor is badly damaged and 103 people will have to be temporarily relocated within the building, either other rooms or common spaces,” said Karen Livick, executive director of Salvation Army.
Spong’s room was one of the closest to the location of the water main break. Since moving into the building in April, he said he hasn’t experienced any problems.
For now, Spong said residents couldn’t go back upstairs for safety reasons.
“You don’t know what’s up in the ceiling, what kind of water damage is there,” he said. “You start walking through the hallways or whatever, and that ceiling starts coming down on people, that’s not good. This is what they’re concerned about.”
Another resident, Don Slater, said an inspector assessed damage, a cleanup crew was brought in to clear the debris and the Salvation Army is offering free meals to residents.
“We’ve got a lot of people upset because everybody wants to have a sleep or read, get on their computer, change clothes, shower,” Slater said. “Can’t do nothing.”
Spong added that accommodation arrangements have not been settled and residents won’t know anything about where and how long they’ll be relocated until after 6 p.m.
“There’s a good chance I’m probably not going back in tonight,” he said
“I have nowhere else to go. This is my home. I’m a little concerned about that because I don’t know where I can go tonight.”
But Spong remains optimistic, estimating the worst-case scenario is that he might be displaced for a night.
“Things could be worse.”
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