Water Main Break Tears Canopy Off Tulsa Gas Station

Monday, January 12th 2015, 11:15 pm
By: News On 6

City crews dealt with a number of water main breaks across Tulsa Monday. Video captured one break that ripped apart the canopy of a Tulsa gas station.

Crews starting work early Monday as the first of eight water main breaks occurred at 1:00 in the morning.

One of the breaks left 40 homes on East 1st street without water at one point; but none of the breaks were close to what happened at the Phillips 66 gas station on East Pine Street.

1/12/2015 Related Story: Broken Pipe Shuts Off Water To North Tulsa Neighborhood

It was business as usual at Shahin Alam's gas station until a little before 9:00 in the morning. That's when video shows the slow progression of water after a city line broke and sent water pouring into the parking lot.

"I didn't see the water line break, then, when water got 30 or 40 feet high I saw it," Alam said.

He said he watched as, within minutes, the spout of water grew and the canopy over his gas pumps was no match for it.

"It was like a tsunami, like a tornado." Alam said.

No one was hurt, but the pressure from the water collapsed the metal structure and the force blew a hole in the rear window of Alam's car, parked just a few feet away.

1/12/2015 Related Story: Tulsa Water Department Inundated With Water Line Breaks

Alam's insurance company said it's going to take $65,000 to fix the canopy.

"My insurance said the city should take care of that," Alam said.

According to City Attorney, Gerry Bender, at this point, the city isn't responsible.

"It's an unexpected event and you can't predict it. When that happens the city has no liability for damages caused because there wasn't anything the city did, basically, to cause this to happen," Bender said.

He said the city would be responsible for the damage if it had known about a leak in the water main and failed to fix it in a timely manner.

So, for now, cleanup continues in order to get Alam's pumps back up and working.

Alam can still file an official claim against the city. If that happens, city attorneys will conduct an investigation and make a determination to the mayor's office whether or not the city is responsible for paying.

The eighth break of the day happened around 10:00 Monday night in the 5500 block of East Pine. Crews said they expect to work all night to fix the break.