Closed Temporarily

Sprinklers rain down on Patricia

Water causes quick change in Aurora Festival plans

Published: Wednesday, September 3, 2014 8:49 AM PDT Powell River Peak Newspaper

In the early hours of the Friday, August 29, workday, the auditorium, balcony and concession areas of the Patricia Theatre suffered a deluge of catastrophic proportions when one, single fire suppression sprinkler head in the attic failed.

Hundreds of gallons of water sprayed into the attic, then gradually migrated through the lath and plaster ceilings, down the stairwells and through the floors.

Powell River emergency services responded to the alarm phoned in by a passerby who heard the sprinkler system’s flow alarm ringing in the foyer of the building.

“By the time the SJS Restoration crew had bagged all the sodden insulation, dropped it down to the auditorium floor through a hole cut in the ceiling, then lugged it out and hauled it away, there were nearly five tonnes of waste,” said Ann Nelson, of the Patricia. “Ruined carpet, stressed electrical service and damaged seats, as well as water damage to speakers, murals, wallpaper, and PA systems have emerged as they’ve slogged their way through the mess.”

The theatre will remain closed until emergency repairs can be completed and permanent repairs can be scheduled to make the auditorium safe again for the public.

“The good news is that the water never touched the new “Silver” screen, the array of speakers behind the screen, nor the equipment in the projection booth,” said Nelson. “The bad news is that it could be some weeks before the community can resume catching the flicks at the Pat and that all the Aurora Festival events scheduled for the Patricia venue have had to be re-located to Dwight Hall.”

Friends of the Historic Patricia Theatre Society will be meeting this week to explore ways to support the theatre through the process of reclamation and restoration.

Update from Ann September 4, 2014

Well, as far updates go, it's pretty slim pickin's.

They've hauled out 4 tonnes of sodden insulation and carpet and stuff and have 'leventy jillion dehumidifiers, blowers and extractors blasting away in the attic and auditorium, with fuses blowing like popcorn and our electrician, Henri, pulling out his hair.

No one can give us a firm date yet when the actual repairs can start, and how long those will take once started: so much depends on keeping the building safe and keeping the people who come to the events safe.

Realistically, we're probably looking at 2-maybe 5 weeks and I've got every digit I own crossed to will us to be up by the Rossander World Documentary Festival in October.

Stay tuned for further news as it breaks.

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Since 1913 · The longest running movie theatre in Canada

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