By Tony Gorman
For the Star 

Fire department responds to report of water

Malfunction of sprinkler system prompts evacuation


Tony Gorman photo

Fire crews dealt with water, not fire, after the third floor sprinkler system failed at the Cottonwood Apartments.

Sixty tenants of a Valdez apartment complex spent a couple of night in hotels after a sprinkler head malfunctioned in the building.

A week ago Tuesday, the Valdez Fire Department responded to an alarm at The Cottonwood Manor Apartments on 151 Alatna Street. Crews arrived on scene to find the faulty sprinkler head instead of a fire.

"Water had been flowing for a fair amount of time before we could get the water source turned off," Acting Fire Chief Captain Gary Shoop said. "We were making efforts to remove the water the best that we could."

Shoop said a toilet was dismounted in order to drain the water. Most of the damage was done on the third floor of the complex. The building's owner, Sound Realty, put all its tenants up in the Mountain Sky and Totem Inn hotels until the sprinkler head was repaired and the water was cleaned up.

Sound Realty property manager Sonya Loffredo said the tenants' stays at the hotel lasted two nights. No injuries were reported.


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