SOUTHWEST FORSYTH - Friday the 13th turned out to be unlucky for several business owners in Vickery Village whose establishments were damaged when a main water pipe broke early Friday morning.
Liz Morrison, general manager of Village Italian restaurant, said she’s never seen anything like it in her 25 years in the restaurant business.
“Interestingly enough, our 80-pound hostess stand was way down the plaza … there’s glass and plateware all over the parking lot," she said. "Really, it’s crazy, the power of the water and what it’s done to the restaurant … the cash drawers were even floating around.”
David Datlof, owner of the restaurant, said they have only been open for a few months, and this will be a hard hit.
“This was quite a setback, but I have to say the fire department did the best job I’ve ever seen a fire department do,” Datlof said. "They did everything they could to save our property."
Datlof’s restaurant and another business, the Phase Shop, a boutique store and a part of the Commons at Vickery -- which is described on its website as a gathering place for friends and family -- took the brunt of the damage, but two businesses that were being constructed also received some damage.
Forsyth County Fire Department Division Chief Jason Shivers said firefighters were called to Vickery Village at 6:15 a.m. Friday when someone noticed water leaking from a tunnel that leads between two sets of shops. They arrived to find water coming from a utility closet behind the businesses.
Shivers said there was about four feet of water inside the closet, holding the door shut, so firefighters had to force the door to find the source of the leak. By the time they were called, Shivers said they believe the water had already been running for at least an hour and a half.
Once they were inside the utility room, they found a main water pipe at least 4 inches in diameter split down the side for about two feet.
“This was allowing full city water pressure into the room," Shivers said.
At that point, firefighters began trying to save what they could while working to shut off the water, according to Shivers.
“We put as much of their property above the water as we could and tried to save everything we could,” he said.
The water department was contacted to shut the water off at a main supply to stop the flow.
Morrison said she’s looking for a silver lining in the catastrophe that hit their business.
“We’re excited to rebuild … we’re going to add a full bar, and now we can build it exactly the way we want," she said. “We’re looking forward to making it happen bigger and better.”
Because the utility closet area also housed electrical service for the buildings and the water came up inside the walls and damaged the electrical systems, Shivers said the businesses will be closed until the damage is repaired.
“Once the Fire Marshals Office receives letters from the electricians that the damage has been repaired," he said, "they’ll be able to occupy the buildings again."