Vancouver firefighters were called out to the Ming Sun building on Powell Street around 6 p.m. Tuesday after water was spotted coming out of the building. The firefighters found burst sprinkler pipes had flooded both floors of the building with 15 centimetres of water.
City officials blamed the leaks on the cold weather and pipe joints that appeared to be coming apart in multiple locations inside.
"As the building has now moved further into a state of disrepair, and there continues to be evidence that the property owner has not adequately secured the building as ordered, the city ordered it be boarded up to prevent further access," said a statement issued by the city.
"Community police officers will stay on scene until city engineers complete the board-up. City inspectors will return in the morning to assess the building," said the statement.
Previously, the city had said the 122-year-old building at 439 Powell St. had become structurally unsound after a neighbouring building was demolished in July.
The city was planning to take down the historic structure, which is one of the last remnants of what was once Japantown, this week.
But the society's David Wong says the city has now accepted a report from a respected historian, showing the building has historic significance.
The city has hired a structural engineer and a demolition company to remove a brick chimney and facade from the building. The society will be billed for the costs. It will then focus on restoration of the building, which is expected to cost about $800,000.