Senior Center soaked when frozen pipes burst | SierraSun.com

Senior Center soaked when frozen pipes burst

Christine Stanley
Sierra Sun

Emma Garrard/Sierra Sun Villa Gladding looks through the doorway into the cafeteria at the Truckee Senior Center Monday afternoon after it was flooded by several broken pipes. The center will be closed until further notice.

A sopping wet mess devastated the Truckee Donner Senior Center when frozen pipes burst on Saturday and Monday, causing extensive damage to the kitchen and dining room.

“I came running over and there was water coming out from under the dining room doors,” said Jesse Griffin, who lives in the Truckee Donner Senior Center apartments and volunteers her time with the Sierra Senior Services. “You could hear the water pouring. It was like, welcome to the flood.”

The financial extent of the damage has not yet been tallied, according to Melanie Kauffman, executive director of Sierra Senior Services, but if the physical condition of the kitchen and dining room are any indication, the repair bill will not be cheap.

The pipes burst in the kitchen ceiling and two commercial-grade refrigerators ” about $4,000 a piece ” were put out of use because water soaked the electrical systems. The ovens were drenched. The cabinetry was saturated, and the floor was warped.

“The kitchen is not going to be usable for quite some time because of the extent of the damage,” Kauffman said. “The big issue is that we are without a facility to prepare food for the Meals on Wheels program.”

Every day the senior center provides a hot lunch on site for about 30 senior citizens, many of whom live on their own but can no longer cook. Another 50 home-bound seniors receive a daily hot meal via the delivery program.

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“(Sierra Senior Services) doesn’t have an extra kitchen facility and my concern is that the senior’s needs are taken care of while we’re down,” said Assistant Property Manager Villa Gladding. “We’re upset because this affects a lot of people in the area.”

Kauffman and Gladding spent Monday searching for an interim kitchen facility, but the holiday made it difficult to reach local resources. There were enough frozen entrees to provide Meals on Wheels service today, but that’s it, Kauffman said.

The dining room sustained severe damage Monday afternoon when a second pipe burst. Nearly a quarter-inch of water pooled on the carpet, and power had to be cut. Gladding said that community gatherings such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Bible study and evening card games held in the room will be canceled until the water dries up.

These gatherings as well as lunch time are critical to the social well-being of seniors, Griffin said.

“Socializing is the most important part, in some ways,” she said. “It’s about keeping an eye on people. Some are here every day, so if they don’t show up we ask questions. This is really a devastating event.”