Raise The Roof (On The Norwich Pump Station)
Kevin Sylvester, left, and Joe Clegg, of Phillips & Sylvester Builders, Inc., work on building a new roof for the burned-out Norwich pump station on Thursday, Aug. 15, 2013. The pump station, whose roof and electrical system were destroyed in a fire last week, can be seen in the background. Valley News - Maggie Cassidy
Joe Clegg, left, and Kevin Sylvester of Phillips & Sylvester Builders, Inc., work on building a new roof for the burned-out Norwich pump station on Thursday, Aug. 15, 2013. Valley News - Maggie Cassidy
Norwich — Driving past the burned-out Norwich pump station on my way to work this morning, I saw a flurry of activity: Builders from Wolcott-based Phillips & Sylvester, Inc., were working on building a new roof.
The roof was largely destroyed during an early-morning fire at the station last week. That fire also destroyed the electrical system that powers the pump, leading the town to ask its municipal water system customers to conserve water.
An electrician has since jury-rigged a generator to the pump to get it working again, but the entire operation has been sitting out in the open, underneath a gaping hole in what remained of the roof. Kevin Sylvester, who was working on the roof today, said he wasn’t sure whether it would go up today or tomorrow (see the update below), and that it depended on when a crane would be available.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation. In an email to Valley News reporter Sarah Brubeck this morning, Norwich Police Chief Doug Robinson said that there is “nothing new to report” today.
“We will be putting up posters asking for any information people have regarding the fire,” Robinson said. “Even though the cause and origin have not determined that the fire was suspicious (yet) we will continue to investigate it until either it is determined to be accidental or until an arrest is made. Right now I’m still waiting on the fire investigators reports.”
Posted to the Upper Valley Dispatch blog Thursday at 1:25 p.m.
UPDATE at 4:40 p.m.: Sam Eaton, one of the Norwich Fire District officials overseeing the pump station's restoration, called this afternoon to say a crane will be on-site tomorrow to attach the roof to the structure.
Officials have been running the generator every two days to refill the reservoir, he said. Municipal water supply customers should continue conserving water while officials work to get a temporary underground power supply installed from Green Mountain Power.
The parts for that process have been ordered and are expected to arrive within a week and a half, Eaton said.
“Everybody's been pretty good (about conserving water),” he said. “We appreciate the patience and hopefully we'll be more at a normal routine in a week and a half, maybe two weeks at the tops.”
Maggie Cassidy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.