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Williamson Pool to stay open, for now, after fire

The Ray Williamson Pool at the Bainbridge Aquatics Center will remain open as long as the water stays warm, an official with the Bainbridge Island Metro Park & Recreation District said Tuesday.

A small fire broke out in the boiler room next to the pool just before 9 p.m. Monday. The blaze was quickly put out by the center's sprinkler system after it was triggered by smoke in the building.

"The water heater basically melted down last night. It was some kind of malfunction," said John DeMeyer, recreation services director for Bainbridge Island Parks.

The Bainbridge High boys water polo team was in the building at the time, and after some smelled smoke, they went to investigate.

DeMeyer said someone opened a door to the room containing the pool's water heater and saw smoke. A supervisor then immediately evacuated the building.

The smoke then set off the sprinkler system, which extinguished the fire.

DeMeyer said the heating unit, which heats only the Williamson Pool, was a total loss. Replacing the unit may cost roughly $3,500 to $4,000.

There was no damage to the building with the exception of possible water damage, DeMeyer said. The heater was self-contained in a small room, and the sheetrock in the room is being inspected to determine if there has been any damage.

The pool has not been closed because the water is still warm, DeMeyer said.

"It's open. They haven't canceled anything yet," he said.

Pool employees are trying to maintain the temperature of the water by covering the pool with a solar blanket while it is not in use, and are also hopeful that sunny weather Tuesday will allow the facility to continue to use its solar heating system for the pool.

"They are going to stay open as long as the water is warm enough," DeMeyer said.

DeMeyer said it is uncertain how long it will take to get a new heating unit installed, but said the units are usually readily replaceable.

The aquatics center was scheduled to host a Bainbridge High boys water polo match against Mercer Island on Wednesday, as well as a Spartan girls swimming meet against Bellevue, also Wednesday in the Williamson Pool.

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