WHEATFIELD – Frozen valves caused three water pipes to burst inside the former Summit mall over the weekend, resulting in as much as $1 million worth of water damage.
Police are investigating whether a burglary may have precipitated the mess.
Officials responded to the largely vacant mall at 9 a.m. today, after a large water main break was discovered. It turned out that water pooling in the parking lots was actually coming from inside the mall, where most of the stores had been flooded with four to six inches of water, Niagara County sheriff’s deputies said.
While checking the interior, officials discovered a roof hatch open inside a utility room. Deputies speculate that the hatch was opened sometime between 5 p.m. Wednesday and this morning, and may have remained open during an unusually cold snap of weather that probably triggered the freezing of the valves.
The town water department was called out to shut off the water main to the mall building.
Replacement of the damaged valves was expected to cost about $100,00, and the water damage to the mall was listed at $500,000 to $1 million.