Pipe breaks, swamping downtown businesses

Rick Wilkins with Royal Restoration, right, vacuums water out of carpets at the Persian Rug Gallery, 438 Main St., in Grand Junction on Friday. Gallery owner Moe Torabbeigi looks on in the background.

When the Grand Junction police officer roused him from bed with a phone call at 2:30 a.m. and mentioned a waterline break and his Persian rug business in the same sentence, Moe Torabbeigi knew the scene awaiting him wouldn’t be pretty.

“Water is the enemy of rugs,” he said matter-of-factly.

But the owner of the Persian Rug Gallery had no grasp of the extent of the devastation until he pulled into the parking spot outside 438 Main St.

Water extended one-third of the way into his store and was four inches deep in some places. A slick of mud and rocks two inches thick covered the entryway. And in the way of that water and mud stood hundreds of rugs.

A crumbling waterline that anxious city officials planned to replace in three months ruptured early Friday morning, flooding several downtown businesses in the 400 block of Main on the north side of the street.

Business owners and employees worked most of the day alongside emergency cleanup crews tearing out flooring, removing wet inventory, sucking up water with vacuums and running fans.

Torabbeigi estimated he sustained more than $100,000 in damage to his inventory. He said 300 of the 1,200 rugs in his store were soaked and need to be professionally cleaned. Some are beyond repair. The store will be closed for at least a week.

The breach also caused a large pine tree to collapse. It would have fallen on Torabbeigi’s vehicle if he hadn’t moved it at the recommendation of police.

In spite of all that, Torabbeigi maintained a positive attitude.

“Things happen,” he said, taking a break from vacuuming a rug in the back of his store. “You can’t sit down and cry. I just want to work hard on (the rugs) and get things done.”

Peggy Page, owner of Page-Parsons Jewelers, 444 Main St., hightailed it to her store at 6 a.m. after her son called her. A friend saw a television report about the break. She watched city crews remove the breached line.

“It had two or three holes that broke out,” Page said. “They said it looked like a lake when it first happened.”

She said water soaked the store’s carpet and dampened display cases and a few clocks. The one that concerns her most is a nine-foot, 19th-century antique that belonged to Lincoln Park Pool grantor William Moyer. She said the clock is worth at least $20,000.

“All in all, it’s not the worst thing that could happen,” Page said.

She hopes to reopen Page-Parsons on Monday.

Employees at New York Moon Boutique & Salon, 418 Main St., had to tear the flooring out of their business. A sign on the business door indicated it hoped to reopen today. Mud breached the entrance to Six Nightclub & Lounge, 436 Main St., but the business was otherwise untouched because it’s still under construction.

“We were fortunate to miss out on the major damage,” owner Beau Bradley said.

The line broke around 2 a.m. in front of the Persian Rug Gallery. City crews restored water to the 400 block of Main by 10 a.m. and reopened the street by 1 p.m.


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