Friday, April 25, 2008

Broken main brings early spring flood

Express Staff Writer

Drivers heading up Warm Springs Road toward Main Street on Wednesday, April 23, splashed through water up to the middle of their wheels despite the fact that no snow was melting in the cold morning temperatures.

According to Ketchum Utilities Superintendent Steve Hansen, a contractor adding new service lines to connect some older buildings to the new water main accidentally punctured the main right in front of Thomas Vern Plumbing and Heating around 9:30 a.m.

Hansen said the accident caused "a couple thousand gallons per minute" to pour across Warm Springs Road, where it carried down Eighth Street and then split, heading north and south on Washington Avenue and pooling in some of the lower-lying areas.

Hansen said Ketchum lost water pressure during the break, but that it was restored at approximately 9:55 a.m., except in the nearby Backwoods Mountain Sports and Sun Summit Ski & Cycle buildings.

In addition to the loss in water pressure, Sun Summit, located almost directly across from the break, experienced some damage as the water poured into the basement, soaking some of the cycle shop's inventory.

Greg Stock, one of the Sun Summit owners, said the following day that there were high water marks between 12 and 18 inches around the outside of the building, but that the basement's dirt floor helped drain the water.

Stock said the flow of water was strong enough to damage a secondary wall in the basement, as well as move a number of old railroad ties that make up a raised area in front of the shop.

The extent of the damage is not yet known, however, and Stock said an insurance adjuster was looking over the building Thursday.

 Local Weather 
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