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Burst pipe floods stores in Port Moody’s Newport Village

Several businesses are closed until further notice after they were flooded by a burst sprinkler pipe
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The interior of the Coastal Books shop in Port Moody's Newport Village after a burst pipe flooded several businesses Wednesday afternoon.

Several shops in Port Moody are mopping up after they were flooded by a burst sprinkler pipe Wednesday afternoon (Dec. 29).

Julie Veres, who owns the Unmediocre kitchen wares store in Newport Village (262 Newport Dr.), said water started raining down from the ceiling at around 2:30 p.m. and Port Moody Fire Rescue was on the scene when she arrived after receiving a call from one of her employees.

“Our store had about an inch of water throughout,” Veres said, adding firefighters advised her the flood originated from a burst sprinkler pipe in the condo units above.

Kirk Heaven, of PMFR, said while an exact cause hasn't been definitively determined yet, the cold temperatures could very well have been the culprit.

"It is common when the temperatures are so low," he said

Several residential units above the stores were also affected, along with neighbouring shops like Coastal Books, See More Optical and the Wish On a Star gift shop.

Veres said employees of her shop acted quickly to move merchandise away from the water, that continued to pour down from the ceiling for a couple of hours.

However, the shop’s walls, floors and some stock were damaged.

At nearby Coastal Books, which only opened Dec. 1 after moving from the Austin Heights neighbourhood in Coquitlam, customers even helped get books and furniture outside to save them from the deluge.

“That was pretty nice to see,” Veres said.

She added her shop, as well as the others, are closed until further notice while insurance companies assess the damage and restoration companies clean up and make repairs. Veres’ sister shop, the Unmediocre general store, was unaffected, as it’s located in another building in Newport Village.

The recent stretch of wintery weather can cause uninsulated water pipes that are exposed to cold temperatures to burst as water inside the pipes freezes. They're also vulnerable as the weather warms up again after a cold snap.

On Thursday, a burst pipe flooded the SeaBus terminal at Waterfront station in Vancouver, suspending boat service for several hours.

Some ways to prevent bust pipes from happening include:

  • keep water faucets running at a slow trickle as the moving water is less likely to freeze
  • direct warm air to outside walls where pipes might be located
  • if your kitchen sink is against an outside wall, open the cabinets underneath to expose the water pipes to warmer air
  • disconnect any hoses from outdoor faucets
  • wrap outdoor pipes with insulating heat tape