By Mike LaBella
---- — HAVERHILL — The popular Tap Restaurant on Washington Street is closed because of water damage caused by sprinklers set off by an overheated air conditioner.
The eatery and bar in the heart of the downtown restaurant district is undergoing repairs and is expected to reopen early next week, said owner John Fahimian.
He said the sprinklers began going off about 7 p.m. Tuesday, while the restaurant was open for business. An air conditioner on the second floor overheated and set off three sprinklers in a rear hallway, he said.
Fahimian said firefighters responded immediately and shut off the water to the sprinklers.
“They also removed the water to minimize damages,” Fahimian said, adding that he was thankful for the quick response by not only the Fire Department, but Mayor James Fiorentini and city health officials.
He said the officials outlined steps he must take before the restaurant can begin serving food again.
Because the affected area of the building is one which food is carried through, causing sanitary concerns, health officials ordered the restaurant closed until repairs are made, Fahimian said.
“The Health Department was very specific as to what we needed to do to get back in business as fast as we could,” he said. “The mayor made sure all of the departments worked together to make that happen.”
The Tap, a restaurant and brew pub which makes a variety of craft beers, serves food and drinks indoors and on its popular outdoor deck overlooking the Merrimack River.
Fahimian said the water damaged ceilings and walls, as well as electrical wiring and junction boxes which must be replaced.
“These things do happen,” Fahimian said. “We are hoping to reopen on Tuesday.”