The owner of Nelson’s historic Hume hotel says the community has been overwhelmingly supportive after the incident last weekend that severely damaged the building.
Last Saturday, a hotel guest, whom Martin described as a ‘late-night reveller,’ tampered with a sprinkler head in one of the hotel’s premium suites.
Martin said the individual alleged that the sprinkler was leaking, so he tried to ‘fix it’ but ended up tearing it off the roof.
It resulted in a downpour of water flooding through the ceiling for about 45 minutes.
“A very large volume of water came out of that one sprinkler head and caused massive flooding in adjacent rooms down to another suite called the Barrister Suite below, down into the Library Lounge, Benwell, and Spirit Bar.”
The damage forced Martin to close the Library Lounge indefinitely. He says he hopes the culprit is held responsible for actions that caused more than just physical damage.
“I haven’t personally done anything about the individual responsible; the insurance company will be working on that. But there needs to be some sort of accountability for somebody that does something so stupid and wrong. It has had such a massive ripple effect that affects so many people negatively.”
The incident has left eight staff members unemployed, and the timing couldn’t be worse added Martin, with the holidays right around the corner.
“My main concern is for our staff who are now not working. Plus, the Library Lounge truly shines during Christmas time. It’s our busiest time of year and a tradition for lots of people in the community that’s now been taken away. It’s completely disheartening.”
As far as the extent of the damage, Martin says it’s still unknown. He explained how the building’s age posed a concern about asbestos in the drywall joints, but fortunately, the test came back negative.
An insurance adjuster will be assessing the site this week. Martin hopes to have more answers for his staff and the community on how long repairs will take, but regardless, he’s confident that with the support from community, business will resume as usual soon.
“We’ve been receiving overwhelming love and support from everyone in the community and really appreciate and feel the love. The words and support mean a lot. We’re not looking for handouts in any way, but the gestures to us and our staff are immeasurable.
“I know that they’re very grateful. If anybody wants to help, we ask you to support the food bank, support other community initiatives, because we’re going to be okay here at the Historic Hume Hotel.”