Water main break floods roads in Downtown Knoxville

Water main break floods roads in Downtown Knoxville

Posted:
The Knoxville Police Department says officials responded to the call around 11:45 p.m. at the intersection of State and Main streets. The Knoxville Police Department says officials responded to the call around 11:45 p.m. at the intersection of State and Main streets.
Officials say roads have collapsed in that area from all the water. Officials say roads have collapsed in that area from all the water.
The water main break flooded roads in the area. The water main break flooded roads in the area.
The water main break was shut off around 3:30 a.m. The water main break was shut off around 3:30 a.m.

By DREW GARDNER
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Several Downtown Knoxville roads were shut down following an 18-inch water main break late Wednesday night into early Thursday morning.

The Knoxville Police Department says officials responded to the call around 11:45 p.m. at the intersection of State and Main streets.

"I heard the roar of water coming up and then I saw just the water spewing and I was just amazed," said witness Sam Schrock.

The area was completely flooded as well as some nearby businesses.

The water heavily damaged the John H. Coleman Heating and Air building on the corner of State and Main.

"The main break right here is hitting the whole corner of our building," said owner Buddy Cruze. "So this whole corner has been caved in and damaged by water."

Officials also say roads have collapsed in that area from all the water.

The water main break was finally shut off around 3:30 a.m. The cause of the break is currently unknown.

The Knoxville Utilities Board says repairing the break will be a multiple day operation lasting into the weekend. Customers without water Thursday afternoon are expected to remain without service through Friday and possibly longer.

Occupants of Riverview Tower and five other buildings are affected. KUB is providing bottled water to those customers who are without service.

KUB says the following streets will remain closed through the weekend because of repairs: Main Street between S. Gay Street and S. Central Street, State Street between W. Hill Avenue and Cumberland Avenue, and the Main Street entrance ramp to James White Parkway.

KPD says the parking garage at the First Tennessee tower is accessible from Cumberland Avenue. Dwight Kessell parking garage is accessible from Hill Avenue. The BB&T tower is accessible only from Hill Avenue.

Barricades have been put up in the area for traffic control. Flagmen will also be onsite.

Water pressure is returning to normal to areas inside the I-640/I-40 loop that may have experienced pressure problems Thursday morning.

The water lines in this area were installed in the 1920s.

Downtown business devastated by water main break

Workers at John H. Coleman Heating and Air spent the morning cleaning out their offices after the water main break flooded their building.

The water main break happened at the back corner of the company's building, but the force of the water was so great it carried water and mud throughout the entire business, even collapsing some ceilings and walls.

"We're looking at a pretty dramatic situation here inside the building," said owner Buddy Cruze. "The building is probably totaled here from what we can tell."

Cruze got the call from Knoxville police about the water main break just after midnight. He rushed down to the store to find water gushing toward his business.

"The water was hitting the back side of the building and the force of the water has caved in our back wall," said Cruze.

The water barely left a room untouched. The upstairs was almost unrecognizable. The force of the water burst several windows and collapsed the roof.

"The water was spewing so high in the air it filled our roof up and it became so heavy that it collapsed and fell in," said Cruze.  "I don't know if the collapse of the roof line broke the glass or the water did, but one or the other this just filled up totally with water and glass broke and the water all escaped out of this broken window here."

KUB will go in and assess the damage, but in the meantime it will be business as usual. They can be reached at their regular number, (865) 525-5111, and those calls will be forwarded to their temporary office space.

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