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Water pipe break prompts homeless shelter evacuation in Manchester
New Horizons for New Hampshire Director Charlie Sherman, right, discusses the situation at Manchester's largest homeless shelter while city enviornmental health director Philip Alexkos listens in. (MARK HAYWARD/UNION LEADER)
With limited access to potable water, New Horizons for New Hampshire served cold sandiches and chips on paper plates Monday night, as workers raced to fix the problem, said Executive Director Charlie Sherman. New Horizons serves about 220 meals a day.
He said the pipe — a main with a diameter of about 6 inches — ruptured about 11:45 p.m. Sunday. That meant sprinklers would not be able to operate, so nearly all of the 55 overnight residents were sent out to the streets.
He hung out at a city park for a few hours, then went to the homeless day shelter when it opened.
"I didn't get any sleep. I just walked around," he said. The nighttime low temperature was in the 70s, said New Horizons program director Kevin Kintner.
He attributed the rupture to the age of the pipe, which he predicted would cost the homeless shelter thousands of dollars to repair.
"The whole idea is to get them in, not get them out," he said.
Todd Hairgrow, 47, was one of four disabled residents who were able to remain in the building Sunday night. He uses a walker and suffers from complications related to a stroke, he said.
Hairgrow said he had a breakfast of peanut butter sandwiches and bottled iced tea, then had to leave.
"Right now, we're pretty much at the mercy of the Fire Department," said Hairgrow, as firefighters worked to provide a temporary water supply.
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