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Water main break fills Denver parking garage, damaging vehicles

Denver Water said a conduit burst around 3 a.m. Thursday. Crews repaired the break, but the road will be closed until further notice.

DENVER — Alexandra Lansing woke up around 5 a.m. Wednesday to a knock on her door – quite the wakeup call as water was rapidly flowing into the parking garage below the condominiums where she lives.

"All the water was coming in like a river," said Lansing, who lives at Park Mayfair Condominiums at 955 Eudora St. in Denver.

A spokesperson for Denver Water said a 30-inch pipe broke in the area of East 9th Avenue and Eudora Street about 3 a.m. Crews shut off the water about 6 a.m., but not before a couple of nearby underground parking garages were flooded and a sinkhole opened up in the street.

“The one garage that my car’s parked in, it was over ankle deep," Lansing said. "The other garage was higher than the knee."

She said she's lucky that her car fared well in the water but feels for those who might not be in the same position.

Video courtesy: Alexandra Lansing

There's no update as to what exactly caused the break as of Thursday afternoon, but folks in the neighborhood still have running water, said Todd Hartmann with Denver Water.

He said the pipe that broke is one of the larger ones in the system and provides a lot of water.

“What we’re seeing for the most part is a lot of this water flowed into a couple underground parking garages, and so there are definitely some vehicles that are impacted," he said. "We’re trying to get around that – we’re trying to pump the water out of these garages and get squared away."

“We got a maze of pipes underground, so we can re-route water," Hartmann said. “Fortunately, everybody has water, but unfortunately we do have a mess actually in these parking garages."

Credit: Luis de Leon
Denver Water crews work on a water main break in the area of 9th and Eudora on Feb. 2.

How many cars sustained heavy damage remained to be seen as of Thursday afternoon. But generally in a situation like this, Hartmann explained, there is a scenario where Denver Water covers a portion of what insurance may not. 

“Denver Water will cover up to $1,000," he said. "So the obvious example would be the deductible. So whatever insurance won’t cover in that area, Denver Water will provide the car owner up to $1,000."

Hartmann said they've seen an increase in pipe burst calls after the recent cold snaps around Christmas and again last week.

“Both those did result in a larger number of main breaks, and that’s just the change in temperature can cause those pipes to break," he explained.

Crews repaired the conduit, but the roads nearby will remain closed until further notice, Denver Water said Friday.

> Video below: Sky9 flies over the sinkhole at 9th Avenue and Eudora Street on Thursday morning:


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