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Broken fire sprinkler floods Scoops, other Covington Square businesses
Popular ice cream business could be closed for at least a month
Scoops on the Covington Square may be closed for more than two months, a fire official said. - photo by Tom Spigolon

COVINGTON, Ga. — Water from a broken fire sprinkler head caused major damage to four upstairs residences and at least three street-level businesses on the Covington Square last week and forced at least one popular business to close, possibly for months.

Movers transporting a large piece of furniture "sheared off" the head of a fire sprinkler in an upstairs residence in the building housing Scoops at 1131 College Ave. on the southeast corner of the Square, said fire marshal Joe Doss of the Covington Fire Department.

"They couldn't turn (the water) off in time," he said.

The 3:30 p.m. incident led to water flooding two upstairs condominiums and damaging two others before moving downstairs through the ceiling and walls of the building and causing severe water damage to Scoops and two other businesses.

"Scoops took the brunt of it," he said. "It will be up to other departments to determine how much product (Scoops) loses." 

An Allstate insurance office also was damaged and a Merle Norman cosmetics business slightly damaged in the incident, he said.

Doss said he could not estimate the amount of damage — which will be determined by inspectors after they make a final determination on the extent of water damage.

He said Covington Fire Department was notified after the sprinkler set off a fire alarm in the building and a private caller told the department about the leak.  Firefighters worked to squeegee out as much water as possible before contacting a local damage mitigation company to finish the work, he said. 

He estimated on Monday that Scoops may be closed through mid-November — though the business's owners on Friday were more optimistic about the timetable and said it will only be closed until late September.

Scoops sells ice cream and confections and is a popular destination for locals and the numerous tourists who visit the Square area. It has operated for about 12 years, according to media reports.

"At this point, we’re looking at a complete loss of product and gut renovation of the building. We sincerely hope to be back to serving you as absolutely soon as possible!!!," Scoops owners posted on the business's Facebook page Friday.

On Monday, the owners posted, "We cannot believe the outpouring of love and support for Scoops Covington from our community and beyond! We are humbled by your words of encouragement. Thank you for sharing our post and helping us to spread the word as quickly as possible. We have had an ongoing weekend of water remediation, insurance adjusters and contractors in and out and we will rise up from this disaster and be Better than Ever! We miss you all already and can’t wait to get back to serving you as soon as possible!" 

Efforts to reach Scoops owners for more information proved unsuccessful.