BENNINGTON -- The extremely cold temperatures of late took a toll on popular downtown restaurant and brewery Madison's Brewing Co. this week.

The 428 Main St. business is temporarily closed due to a sprinkler flood that occurred just after midnight on Wednesday.

Mike Madison, a co-owner of the business, said a sprinkler head on the second story of the building froze and burst at that late hour, after the restaurant had closed, and water leaked continuously from it until the morning, when an employee arrived around 7:30 a.m. and noticed water running throughout the building. The water had traveled from the second story to the main floor and into the basement, Madison said.

"The place was flooded bad," he said. "All the water from the second story went down three stories into the basement. There the water was up over my shoes."

It will take time to dry the affected areas out, and to replace some carpeting and the ceiling in some areas, Madison said. A commercial restoration crew is working to get the building back in order.

Until that time, many of Madison's 40 employees have been urged to seek unemployment. "Unfortunately, there's nothing we can do for most of them" until the business can reopen, Madison said.

He is hopeful to have the business back up and running and employees back to work by Friday, Jan. 17, in time for the usually busy Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday weekend.

Fortunately, the damage is covered by insurance, he said.

"It's a lot of work. We have a lot to do there, but we're hoping to get the downstairs done by next Friday. Until then, we want local people to know we're closed ... temporarily," Madison said.

Madison's, a family-run restaurant serving lunch and dinner as well as the offerings from its 1,400-barrel-per-year brew pub, opened in downtown Bennington in 1996.

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