Busted sprinkler head leaves Old Pro sports bar with significant water damage

Business remains closed for restoration work

A busted sprinkler head at Old Pro sports bar in Palo Alto gushed out enough water to force out customers and employees and close down the downtown business for repairs, a fire official said.

The incident triggered an alarm at the establishment at 541 Ramona St., where firefighters were called respond at 5:52 p.m., Battalion Chief Ryan Stoddard said.

About 30 to 40 people inside the Ramona Street business were forced out of the bar, which was opened before the sprinkler went off, according to Stoddard. The upstairs area had about 3 to 4 inches of standing water.

The sprinkler was spewing out water for about 15 to 20 minutes, sending an estimated few hundred gallons of water to the basement and first and second floors, Stoddard said.

Firefighters discovered the sprinkler system had been activated but found no flames, according to Stoddard. Police officers were called to the area to block traffic from entering after the street began to back up with vehicles, according to emergency-radio communications with dispatchers.

Crews initially had difficulty accessing the sprinkler shutoff, but they were able to shut down the water flow at about 6:25 p.m. Investigators are looking into how the sprinkler head was activated, Stoddard said.

City utilities workers were called to cut power to the building, according to dispatch communications.

Three fire engines, a battalion chief and two fire trucks are currently on scene, according to PulsePoint, an app displaying emergency response incidents.

As of 7 p.m., a building inspector was en route to assess the damage. Firefighters cleared the scene at about 7:20 p.m.

Ramona was closed between University and Hamilton avenues until about 7:30 p.m.

A bar employee who declined to give their name didn't know when the business would reopen.

A restricted use notice from the city posted outside the bar indicated the water damage is "minimal if mitigated immediately" and deemed the water heater flue was unsafe.

The notice from the building department goes on to say that power must be shut down until a restoration contractor dries out the affected areas, gas service is halted to the water heater and the business obtains a permit to correct the water heater installation. Old Pro must remain closed for the work, but is permitted to enter for clean up, according to the notice.

The sports bar was able to mitigate the damage with the assistance of hazardous materials teams and clean-up crews by Friday, April 26, when it reopened for regular business, owner Steve Sinchek said in an email to the Weekly.


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25 people like this
Posted by Rick Horther
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 23, 2019 at 10:58 pm

So sad, feeling waterworks over here, too! The Old Pro was the hottest spot to meet single jocks downtown and the best place to hear sports yelling on a Tuesday night. Many a friend has been made over tinkles at the trough-style urinal, and the hot & wild Palo Alto nightlife won't be the same without the crowded, dad-friendly atmosphere it provides.

Friends of the Palo Alto Anarcho-primitivist Reading Club, please check our social media for our new meetspot while Old Pro towels off.

7 people like this
Posted by Frank
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 24, 2019 at 7:01 am

It took the Fire Dept over 30 minutes to turn off the water!?

1 person likes this
Posted by Sprinkler Runner
a resident of Ventura
on Apr 24, 2019 at 1:12 pm

Sprinkler Runner is a registered user.

The City of Palo Alto must not issue many restricted use placards as this one still has the 415 area code for a Palo Alto Building Dept. phone number! 650 began in 1997.

45 people like this
Posted by Danni dee
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 24, 2019 at 6:39 pm

[Post removed.]

12 people like this
Posted by A Friend
a resident of another community
on Apr 25, 2019 at 12:42 pm

[Post removed.]

25 people like this
Posted by Man Sports
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 25, 2019 at 2:56 pm

[Post removed.]

25 people like this
Posted by Bill
a resident of Stanford
on Apr 25, 2019 at 3:23 pm

[Post removed.]

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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