Water pipe break floods St. Anthony Main businesses

Share this:
September 5, 2013 // UPDATED 11:20 am - September 9, 2013
By: Maggie Kane
The scene inside the Aster Cafe this afternoon.
Maggie Kane

Cleanup crews are helping the Aster Café and neighboring businesses cope with water damage after a water pipe ruptured early Thursday morning, flooding several St. Anthony Main businesses.

The Aster Café, 125 Main St. SE, tweeted the following after the incident: “Aster Patrons: You may have heard that we had a water main break. Please pardon our brief closure while we perform acts of pure heroism!!”

Building owner John Rimarcik said a bolt on the 30-year-old pipe failed, leading to a buildup of water pressure. The break occurred in a building facing 2nd Street, but water flowed into businesses along Main Street Southwest that were also connected to the sprinkler system.

“It was tens of thousands of gallons,” Rimarcik said. “Putting it in terms of how many Olympic sized swimming pools [it would fill], it would be many.”

Bill Neuenschwander owns Mobile Entertainment, LLC, a business along SE Main St. that runs Segway tours. He said he was one of the first to hear about the incident, after his security system picked up motion in the building.

“Our office probably has a $125 to $150 worth of damage,” he said. “The good news is that our voicemail and most of our computing is cloud-based, so the data is saved.”

Neuenschwander temporarily moved tour operations down the street to the building he typically uses to store equipment.

“We have not missed a single tour yet,” he said, adding that some tour groups have not shown up for their appointments, assuming the business shut down for the day.

“People are rolling up their sleeves and getting it done,” he said.

Rimarcik said most other businesses were up and running by Thursday morning, with the exception of The Aster Café. The restaurant opened for a private event on Friday night, but closed their kitchen until further notice, according to their website.

A number of water main breaks have impacted the downtown area this year, including a major one in January on Hennepin near a construction site that is now home to the 222 Hennepin apartments. Private crews working on that apartment development ruptured a 36-inch water main, flooding the nearby area. About 14 million gallons of water were released as a result of that water main break.