Burst pipe leads to evacuation at Pine Street Inn site

Firefighters helped residents onto an MBTA bus after a sprinkler pipe burst at a Pine Street Inn site.
Bill Brett/globe staff
Firefighters helped residents onto an MBTA bus after a sprinkler pipe burst at a Pine Street Inn site.

A housing site for formerly homeless people was evacuated tonight after a sprinkler pipe burst, displacing all 50 tenants, according to the Boston Fire Department.

The large three-story building, located at 82 Green St. in Jamaica Plain, is run by the Pine Street Inn, an organization that provides housing for the homeless.

Firefighters responded to the call at 6:09 p.m. Department spokesman Steve MacDonald said that water flowed from the top-floor pipe to the basement, causing portions of ceilings to collapse and prompting the fire department to shut off the building’s utilities.


“It caused a tremendous amount of damage,” he said. “It created a real public safety hazard.”

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MacDonald said the issue was a “direct result” of the frigid temperatures the region has faced. “The water freezes, and when it freezes, it sometimes causes small cracks in the pipes,” he said. “The temperature rises, and the cracks become places where water flows.”

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority sent two buses to transport the displaced residents to new locations for the night, MacDonald said. While waiting for the buses, the building’s tenants stayed inside the building due to the cold.

“We kept them out of the elements until the buses arrived,” he said.

Jennifer Harris, a spokeswoman for the Pine Street Inn, said that 22 tenants were taken to Hotel 140, located in the YWCA building at 140 Clarendon St., where the fire department also responded to a water leak that caused an electrical issue tonight.


Eleven other people were taken to the Best Western Roundhouse Suites in Roxbury. One person with accessibility issues chose to stay in a hospital room for the night. The rest of the tenants opted to stay with friends or family.

MacDonald said the department has received at least 75 calls of similar cases of pipes bursting in the last two days. He said issues with top-floor pipes are particularly frequent.

There were no injuries in the Jamaica Plain evacuation, according to MacDonald, but emergency medical technicians was on the scene to assist with medical issues.

Andrew Doerfler can be reached at