How I Survived the Water Main Break of 2013!


I’m glad this wasn’t me!
“Worker Tim Green carried an unidentified pedestrian
across a virtual river of water along Hennepin Av.
on 1/4/13,” picture courtesy of StarTribune.

“We have lost water pressure in the building,” a monotone voice reported over the loud-speaker. “Do not use any water at this time. We are trying to figure out what the problem is. As soon as we figure it out, we will let you know.” It was around 2:45 p.m. I sat at my desk at work, my hands hovering over my keyboard. “How can we just lose water pressure like that?” I thought. It was not funny the way my mind started to draw a conclusion that surely there was some sort of Joker in the building who was going to start it and all of us on fire. I prayed, “Make it quick, if it’s my turn to go. You know I’m a wimp.”

Yet, everyone else around me seemed calm. I continued on with whatever I was doing and pretended to be a calm person too. I tried not to worry about there being a fire.  When Mr. Monotone Voice told us not to use the water, I knew that meant not to use the bathroom too. Luckily I was okay in that area, but I don’t think others were.

Reports started to come through via co-workers and emails that a water main broke on a street that was a few blocks away. Some people decided that it was time to go home because it was unsanitary. Others worried that it would take longer than normal to get home with everyone leaving downtown at the same time. Did I mention that I thought it was unsafe being in the building in case there was a fire?

A few minutes before 4:00, we received an email telling us to leave the building because it was not safe in case there was a fire. I think I heard that somewhere before. I quickly gathered my things and shut down my computer in record speed.

When I got to the street level, many people with concerned faces were leaving office buildings too. The noise from the helicopters flying overhead and the blaring sirens echoing off the buildings made me feel even more eerie. I just wanted to get home.

As I waited for my bus, more and more people crowded around. There was no water by us, but it did delay the buses. My bus was a little late, and when I got on, I found a spot. A man sat next to me in one of the three seater benches that go sideways. I was at the end spot and my neighbor who was in the middle sniffled all the way home. I don’t think he was crying. I think he had a cold. I felt so squished that I couldn’t even get my phone out of my purse.

When I got home, I watched the news on TV and listened to all the reports. It appears that a contractor was working by the water main, and it broke. The nearby streets were instantly flooded. Any cars parked in underground parking garages were ruined. Twelve million gallons of water floated up and away that day.

We wondered how it all could possibly get repaired overnight. It did get fixed, and it was business as usual the next day. While some hoped for a day off, I guess I’m just happy we didn’t all float away. It’s a good thing I kept calm and didn’t jump to any wild conclusions!  I’m glad we survived the Water Main Break of 2013.

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9 thoughts on “How I Survived the Water Main Break of 2013!

  1. I must be living under a rock! (Either that, or I’ve just been sleeping right through the nightly news.) I had no idea this had happened!

    I would have been a bit panicky too. And if someone said that I couldn’t use the restroom, that’s when my body would decide I could not stand another minute without using the restroom.

    I’m glad you got out of the building and back home safe and sound. It’s amazing how quickly a mess like that can be cleaned up and everything returns to normal.

  2. I used to think to myself, “What effect would I have on people if I make a mistake?” Imagine being the one who messed up that water line and caused all that damage. Bet that person would never dream someone in Canada is saying, “there but for the grace of God…” and holding great compassion for him/her.

    Glad it didn’t cause you problems.

  3. I saw the photos from this. I live in South Minneapolis and rushed, hurried calls came in to NOT go downtown. Secretly, I wanted to see…. but I stayed home and wrote. Thanks for your story.

    • Good thing you listened to the callers who warned you not to go downtown. It was just very weird. I’m glad things are back to normal now. Thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting!

  4. My mind usually jumps to something devious…are there terrorists here? How did that water main break? I get on the internet and start searching to see if something’s going on. I guess 2001 ended those carefree days for me. ;-(

    I’m glad it was nothing too serious and that everyone got home safely.

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