Whitehorse Daily Star

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

AN UNEXPECTED ACTIVITY – Robert Ryan, the owner of Farmer Robert’s, checks the level of the store’s floor Friday afternoon. The entire building was flooded after a major water main break last Tuesday.

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

The cement in front of the building buckled significantly, preventing the front doors from opening.

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

THE CULPRIT – The fire hydrant broke at this connection underground, precipitating last Tuesday’s flood.

Store owner shocked by flood’s magnitude

When Robert Ryan opened his Farmer Robert’s store, of all the things he thought that might go wrong in running the business, “a biblical-style flood” did not ever come to mind.

By Stephanie Waddell on February 19, 2018

When Robert Ryan opened his Farmer Robert’s store, of all the things he thought that might go wrong in running the business, “a biblical-style flood” did not ever come to mind.

However, that’s exactly what happened last Tuesday, when a city water main beneath Waterfront Place off of Quartz Road broke near the fire hydrant.

The water flowing out of the broken main emerged at the store where the ground underneath and around the building was already thawed.

As Ryan told the Star Friday, water will move to the easiest access, and in this case, it was under the store.

An insurance adjuster from Calgary was set to arrive in Whitehorse this morning to look at the damage to the store, which has been forced to remain closed since the flood.

Ryan learned of the flooding thanks to a friend who was driving through the area Tuesday morning, saw the situation and called him to let him know water was coming out the doors of the store.

Ryan initially thought he had probably left the water on the day before. He rushed down to the store to find a much more serious situation.

The concrete in the store had risen so high from the water that he couldn’t open the front door.

It looked like something from an apocalyptic movie, he said.

He rushed around to the back to get in through another door.

Given the amount of water rushing out, it didn’t take long to realize it was not the water line to the store that was the problem, but something bigger.

“There was just water coming out from under (the building),”Ryan said, noting his shock when he came down to the site last Tuesday.

Insurance officials were contacted “quite swiftly,” Ryan said.

There was initially a bit of delay in getting inside the store because it was deemed unsafe to enter.

He eventually got the go-ahead to enter the building, where he was able to mop out a lot of the water.

A local cleanup crew has also since been there to work on the cleanup. City crews have continued to work on fixing the water main, with that job expected to be finished by the end of today.

Fortunately, there was not a huge loss of product due to requirements that most items be off the floor, Ryan said.

For the most part, it has been things like cardboard boxes and a couple of sacks of flour that were on the floor and destroyed by the flood.

He praised the shop’s neighbours for their help since the flood with making parking and space available to Farmer Robert’s.

As Ryan pointed out, the 600 chickens he has at home aren’t going to stop laying eggs the store normally sells just because it will be shut for a while.

Fortunately, Home Hardware and Haines Packing have offered space where Farmer Robert’s can store and sell its eggs. It’s just one example of the help all of their neighbours have offered up.

“Our neighbours have been really, really good,” Ryan said.

Loyal customers have also been coming through, posting supportive messages online and asking what they can do to help.

While there’s not a lot that can be done until insurance officials have looked at it and a repair plan is in place, Ryan said, he is grateful for all the support.

Comments (6)

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BnR on Feb 22, 2018 at 3:25 pm

The cause hasn't been determined, yet the usual suspects jump to the usual conclusions.
Al Foster, you live in Mt Lorne and don't pay CofW taxes, so you don't really have a dog in the fight do you.

Up 3 Down 0

Bandit on Feb 21, 2018 at 8:13 am

It may be worth looking into the maintenance records from last fall to see if this hydrant could have been missed in the yearly winterizing/antifreeze program. Every hydrant has a number attached and I am sure there has to be some record somewhere?

Up 4 Down 1

Allan Foster on Feb 20, 2018 at 10:49 am

AND SO - Whitehorse continues to stumble and lurch from one infrastructure mess to the next.
Maybe it's time for Mayor and his 6 councilors to start earning the pay raise that they just gave themselves and RUN THE CITY PROPERLY - you know DO THEIR JOBS.

Up 4 Down 0

Josey Wales on Feb 20, 2018 at 4:50 am

Shocked he is? Not me, however.
Dig deep and I am certain the plague of ineptness via CoW will be there.
Up in these parts, more so in our civic system folks get awarded for doing a poor job, get a job based on family genes, have nary a spore of accountability, too preoccupied pandering to focus on the tasks at hand....I really could go on a spell.
Hence my frustration, as we all know these things, see it with our own eyes...hell they don’t even try hiding it anymore.
Was that particular piece installed before a long weekend? Was the area compacted properly? Was it China pipe?
To what torque specs were things tightened, was the wrench calibrated?
Given the untouchables track record of absolute brain dead thought patterns...there is far more to this story.

...and we will eat whatever crap they feed us for a tale, as long as they get theirs...is THE most important thing in the day of civic remorse.
Is why ...lather rinse repeat infects our community.

Up 6 Down 0

north_of_60 on Feb 19, 2018 at 11:49 pm

Airphotos from the early 1950s show that this area was a lake surrounded by a swamp.

Up 4 Down 1

When you don't proper maintenance on Feb 19, 2018 at 2:38 pm

this is what you get. When was the last time this line was pressure tested? I will bet never.
The owner should consider talking to a lawyers.
We have more problems every month with break downs of our system because of the lack of maintenance budget.

Wilf Carter

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