January 11, 2014

Downtown businesses cope with flooding

PLATTSBURGH —  A burst pipe at the Koffee Kat coffee shop poured water into the basements of several businesses Monday.

The basements had been pumped out by that evening, but property owners were still determining the final costs of the flooding by Thursday afternoon.

Though the basement of the Margaret Street coffee shop had been heated, owner Patty Waldron said, cold weather had caused one of the two heaters to short circuit and a sprinkler pipe to freeze.

As temperatures began to rise again, she said, she had figured the threat of frozen pipes had passed.

“It happened during the warm weather, which is why we thought we were in the safety zone,” she said.

Instead of safely thawing the frozen pipe, the warm weather caused it to burst.

Waldron said she was still taking inventory of what had been damaged. A number of the Koffee Kat’s supplies had been stored in the basement, including coffee machines, grinders and paper products.

The materials had been ordered to fix the pipe, Waldron said, and the shop was only waiting for the city’s help in turning off the property’s water to have it repaired.


Corner-Stone Bookshop owner Art Graves learned of the flooding from a custodian and arrived to find books floating between shelves on the store’s waterlogged bottom floor.

“Anything above the waterline, we were able to save,” he said.

Anything below was taken out and piled into multiple garbage trucks to be disposed of. Roughly 15,000 books, including 30 to 40 boxes of new book purchases, were lost in the flooding, Graves said.

Though still a sizable loss, he was grateful the number of books damaged by the water represented only one-third of the inventory kept on bottom floor and that it affected only one level of the three-story building.

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