Burst pipes cause flooding at Prudential, theaters

Burst pipes, caused by freezing temperatures, created flooding and evacuations at some Boston area stores, theaters, and a hospital today.

Shoppers at the Prudential Center got soaked today, when a plumbing issue caused flooding throughout one of the mall’s wings, said fire department officials.

Eva Mayo, a 19-year-old Boston University student, said she was shopping when she heard fire alarms sound throughout the Boylston Street building.

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“All of a sudden tons of water started pouring from the ceiling,” said Mayo. “People were running around like crazy.”

Mayo said there was about 4 inches of water on the ground in the mall’s South Plaza retail area, which houses Chico’s, Pinkberry, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Vineyard Vines, among other stores.

The flooding occurred mostly in the hallway, but some stores were affected, according to Mayo.

Boston Fire Department Spokesman Steve MacDonald said the bursting of a frozen emergency sprinkler pipes caused the leak. When these pipes freeze, they expand, and later thawing often causes them to crack, he said.

The Prudential Center’s maintenance crew cleaned up the water with wet vacuums. The leak lasted for about 30 minutes, said MacDonald. The mall remained open throughout the incident and no injuries were reported.

The Boston Common AMC Loews Theater was evacuated at 4:30 p.m. when a pipe burst, according to AMC spokesman Ryan Noonan. The theater is temporarily closed and it is unclear if it will be reopened tonight, Noonan said.

A sprinkler pipe at Emerson Hospital in Concord also burst Friday afternoon, causing flooding, according to Concord Fire Captain Tom Judge.

Patients in the emergency room were relocated to other areas and ambulances were temporarily diverted to other hospitals until the issue was resolved at 5 p.m., Judge said.