MANSFIELD — The Richland Carrousel Park is closed indefinitely due to damage from a sprinkler main break. 

Director Sharon Bishop said she discovered the flooding after an alarm went off at 7:39 p.m. Tuesday.

“I went in and there was water all over the gift shop, in the offices, all in the pavilion,” she said. “There was water everywhere.”

Bishop said nothing seemed amiss that day when all the employees left around 5:45 p.m. 

Help us help the Carrousel!

Now through January 15, The Source is matching every dollar donated to the non-profit Carrousel Park.

You can mail your donations to:

Richland Carrousel Park

75 N. Main St.

Mansfield, OH 44902

Donate on line at the Carrousel’s website

“There was a break in the sprinkler line above the ceiling in the kitchen area. It had basically flooded the floor of the entire building,” said Capt. Dave Compton of the Mansfield Fire Department.

“The damage that I noted was pretty much limited to items that were on the floor, other than items in the kitchen,” he said. “There was pretty extensive damage in the kitchen area.”

Bishop said since the two-inch sprinkler pipe is designed for fire prevention, it gushed water “at an extreme force.”

When Bishop arrived at the Carrousel, most of the building had between two and three inches of water. 

Bishop attempted to open the door to the kitchen, but it wouldn’t budge. 

Carl Fernyak, a local business owner whose father’s vision brought the carousel to downtown Mansfield in 1991, was called to assist in the cleanup. He said there was about three to four feet of water in the kitchen. 

“The refrigerator and the freezer and a lot of the stuff in there was floating around,” he recalled. “At some point, the water pressure broke the door down and it floated into the rest of the building. Every square inch of the floor was covered.”

Mansfield’s fire, police and water departments helped remove the water, along with a construction crew from Carrousel Properties, a company owned by Fernyak and unrelated to the park. 

“They were wonderful,” Bishop said. “Everyone pitched in.”

After opening the garage-style doors, fire department personnel used squeegees to remove the remaining water.

Fernyak said he and the construction crew spent the next six hours clearing debris and cleaning up the building with shop vacuums.

The pit underneath the carousel was filled with water, but Bishop and Fernyak said the carousel itself appears to be fine. It hasn’t been turned back on yet.

“We’re not aware of any damage at this time, so we don’t believe there’s any damage to the animals or the mechanism,” Fernyak said. “It’s too early to tell.”

Bishop said she’s doesn’t know yet how much restoration work will be needed or how much it will cost. The building is insured, but she anticipates Carrousel Park will have to pay for some out-of-pocket expenses and its deductible.

She expects to know more about the extent and timeline of the work next week.

“It depends on how far back they have to take the paneling and the wood off,” she said. “We know the kitchen had to go clear to the studs.”

Bishop said Richland Carrousel Park already took a financial hit after closing for several days due to the winter storm.

The non-profit agency is accepting donations to help pay for damages. Friends of the Carrousel can mail donations to 75 North Main Street, Mansfield, Ohio 44902. Online donations can be made at its website. For our part, Richland Source will match every dollar raised by the Carrousel through January 15th. 

Jay Allred, Richland Source Publisher said, “The Carrousel is a pillar of downtown Mansfield. It has provided family entertainment and memories for a generation of Ohio families. Helping their staff recover from this major setback is the least we can do.”

Bishop encouraged patrons to stay patient. 

“We’ll come back bigger, better and stronger but it’s going to take time and it’s going to take money,” she said. 

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