Nick Spence, owner of The Marketing Department at 595 East Seventh Ave. in Durango, was going out to get the mail Tuesday when he opened the front door and saw a torrent of water running down the street, creeping toward the building.
“My reaction was, ... well, you wouldn’t be able to put in print what I said,” Spence said on Wednesday. “I just closed the door and tried to believe I didn’t just see that.”
Around noon Tuesday, a city water main broke near Park Elementary, which caused flooding in and around the school, and turned city water all over town a discolored brown.
Steve Salka, Durango utilities director, said the 8-inch steel pipe likely broke because the ground shifted because of warm weather, and the discoloration was caused by stirred-up rust in pipes.
On Wednesday, Salka said crews successfully replaced the pipe, and they turned the water back on around 9 p.m. Tuesday night. The gaping hole west of College Drive on East Seventh Avenue will likely be backfilled, and the street repaved, by Monday or Tuesday of next week, Salka said.
Two Park Elementary classrooms were damaged, but the incident caused little disruption for classes. The Marketing Department, as well as a nearby homeowner, also suffered water damage.
“We got the front half of our building flooded,” Spence said. “Right now, we’re in disarray. It’s a significant inconvenience, is what I like to say, but we’re functioning.”
Spence said as soon as the water started coming in under the door, he realized the building was in trouble. Employees started shutting down the computers and moving equipment to higher ground.
“It just kept coming and coming,” he said.
The Marketing Department’s wood flooring had to be ripped out and will likely be replaced next week. But it was back in business as of Wednesday afternoon, Spence said, despite the constant din of dryers and fans resonating throughout the building.
“We have some insurance that may cover a part of it, and the building owner has some insurance, which may cover some of it,” Spence said. “But the city’s insurance is supposed to cover the whole thing. We’ll see.”
The discolored water coming out of faucets was not contaminated, Salka said, and therefore did not need to be boiled.