UNION — An unknown person entered the Thompson Community Center Tuesday, Jan. 31 and turned off the boiler, according to an email from Town Manager Jay Feyler to the Select Board.
“There is zero chance this is an accident,” Feyler said. “It is pure vandalism.” This act could end up costing the town an addition $1,000.
The town should not be at this point, Feyler said. “It is shameful we have people who would do this.”
Feyler sent the email to the Select Board on Wednesday, Feb. 1 at 3 p.m. to inform them of what had happened. “My hope was that I would not have to write about the TCC for a week of two,” Feyler wrote in the opening line.
“Sometime on Tuesday someone entered the building… They intentionally entered the boiler room and flipped a switch off to shut down the heat.”
There was no reason for anyone to be in the boiler room, Feyler said, and town employees believe the door to the boiler room was locked. He added only a limited number of people had a key to that door and knew how to operate the boiler.
Members of the Union Area Chamber of Commerce were at the building most of Jan. 31 removing their belongings, and Feyler said the town has asked for a listing of people who were allowed to be in the building to begin the investigation.
Feyler said this act of vandalism was especially concerning with the upcoming freezing temperatures.
“If it was not recognized this morning, we would have had some serious issues and major structural and water damage,” he said.
The Select Board voted in December, 2022, to end all leases in the TCC effective Jan. 31 and close the building for the winter.
Starting Wednesday, Feb. 1 Feyler said anyone entering the building without a town employee is trespassing, and the police would be involved.
Thayer Corporation, the company Union contracts with for the TCC boiler, made a service call after it was discovered the boiler had been shut off.
Feyler said this will probably use more oil than they had planned, as they had to bring the building back up to temperature in order to close it for the winter. He estimated this could cost around $1,000.
Feyler closed the email by asking, “Will it ever end?”
This is not the first time Feyler has expressed frustration over the continued issues with the community center. Several members of the board and some residents have shared similar concerns as well.
Feyler said he had not heard back from any members of the Select Board as of noon on Thursday, Feb. 2.