In the evening hours of Sunday Jan. 20, Karen Cummings, the owner of Curves Gales Ferry, was at home when she got a call from her alarm company. When she arrived to the business located at 2 Chapman Lane she was shocked to find about an inch of water covering most of the floor of her business.
“It was pouring in everywhere,” she said of the moment.
Apparently, during one of those nights where the temperatures fell down into the single digits, a water pipe located in the attic burst and had been flooding Curves and all businesses located underneath, including , which is two doors down.
According to owner Pamela Maher who has been there 12 years and uses the space to operate the cleaning service and a pet sitting business, Smooth the Pooch, it was a “total loss.” Maher said that insurance will reimburse her for some things but “this is a major hit.”
Maher’s business sustained more damage than Curves with approximately six inches of water pooling on the floor and damaging computers and cleaning supplies, and equipment on the way down from the ceiling, she said.
“We’ve missed clients because all the records are on the computer,” she said. “It just snowballs from there.”
Her computers are with a technician now but Maher said client and employee information, billing and payroll records were likely lost.
The building was built in 1990 and is currently owned by Allyn, Associates of Norwich. Fred Allyn III said that the building had just received a $230,000 exterior makeover and that "what ever I need to do in here is what I'll do.” After things dry out, he anticipates corrective measures to take another six- to eight- weeks.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do again,” he said.
Allyn mentioned that two other businesses, CGI and Brand Services also sustained water damage.
Back in Curves, Cummings has been issuing vouchers for her clients to use the Curves in Mystic and has no idea when she’ll be able to resume operation. Her office equipment was spared but the weight machines are electronic and she has not yet plugged them in to see if they work.
“My ladies are upset,” she said. “We had just started a weight loss challenge so that’s on hold right now.”
The Gales Ferry Volunteer Fire Company wrote the details of the incident on their Facebook page:
"Today, while returning from an incident in Ledyard, rescue 27 noticed strobe lights flashing inside a commercial building on Chapman La. The rescue decided to turn around and investigate and found an alarm sounding due to a frozen pipe that burst on the second floor. Water was shut off to the building and 4 businesses sustained water damage on the first and second floor. If it wasn't for the quick actions taken by the members on the rescue, water damage would have been a lot worse to the building."