Water Main Break Floods St. Johnsbury Mall

By Kristen Tripodi

Published 02/04 2014 06:50PM

Updated 02/04 2014 06:52PM

ST. JOHNSBURY, Vt. - A Northeast Kingdom mall is still closed after a water main break caused quite the flood.
Crews say more than 8 inches of water filled the Green Mountain Mall in St. Johnsbury.

The inside of the mall looks like something out of a movie. With the power shut off, flickering lights work to brighten up the hallway as crews try to clean up inches of standing water.

“Everything was wet,” said Jay Matthews, Maintenance Supervisor at the mall.

Matthews says overnight a main waterline running into the mall burst.

“They said it was like 1500 gallons a minute,” said Matthews.

The water flowed in for more than 2 hours. That’s like dumping nine swimming pools into the mall.
Matthews says the problem popped up Monday afternoon as a small leak. Crews checked it out and decided to fix it the next day.

“A small problem that blew up pretty much, in a matter of hours,” said Matthews.

It took crews until well after midnight to shut off the water and the power. By then the damage was done.

“I’ve never seen that much water in a building unless it was on fire,” said Matthews.

The north end of the mall is where the break actually happened. Crews say when they first arrived they were wading through 8-10 inches of water. Later there was less water on the ground, but it spread throughout the entire mall.

“They say take things one day at a time; I'm taking things one minute at a time, just one minute,” said Donna Reed, Co-Owner of Kingdom Gymnastics.

Kingdom Gymnastics is located in one of the hardest hit areas of the mall. Reed says she didn't find out about the leak- until well after it happened.

“I'm puzzled as to why I wasn't called until 7 a.m. this morning when my entire gym was underwater at 11:30 last night,” said Reed.

And with no power she can't get inside to begin to clean-up.

“The $14,000 spring floor apparently was floating, and I’m sure that the plywood, the boards were probably damaged. That's extremely frustrating,” said Reed.

Meanwhile crews are hard at work cleaning up the common area to get the mall back open for business. Matthews says clean-up of the main mall area could take a week. We will keep you updated as to when the mall is ready to re-open. 

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