Two State Street businesses were damaged Monday because of frozen water pipes in apartments above the businesses, the second such incident on State Street during this long stretch of frigid weather.

The businesses damaged this time were the former Takara restaurant and the current Pizza di Roma, the Madison Fire Department said.

The establishments are side by side, the old Takara at 313 and Pizza di Roma at 315 State Street.

The flood damage was reported by an automatic waterflow alarm at about 1:50 p.m. Monday.

"Upon arrival, firefighters immediately noticed significant amounts of water coming through a ceiling light in the entryway to the first floor," said fire department spokeswoman Cynthia Schuster.

Takara is permanently closed and Pizza di Roma was closed on Monday.

With water coming from above, firefighters started checking apartments above the two stores, with residents telling firefighters they were having no water pipe problems.

"The crew went to the basement to turn off the water service, and they found more water built up in the basement," Schuster said.

The problem was traced to two apartments above Pizza di Roma.

"The apartments were very cold inside, both had their themostats turned off and the temperature readings were at 40 degrees," Schuster said.

With college students renting many of the apartments Downtown and along State Street, the theory was floated that the apartments were home to students who went out of town for the long winter break, and turned the heat off to save money.

Property management arranged to protect the sprinkler system and indoor plumbing in the building, while firefighters shoveled ice off the sidewalk where the water had spilled out.


Bill Novak is a general assignment reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal.