|Photo: Twitter/St Pete PD|
February 27, 2015 – FLORIDA, UNITED STATES – A water main leak caused a road in downtown St. Petersburg to erode, creating a large hole, which also led to the partial collapse of a nearby building’s wall. The west part of the building is used by Underground Ministries.
The original plan was to cut off the damaged area and demolish it. But now engineers will survey the building.
“Our ultimate goal in the morning is going to be try to salvage the rest of the building versus cutting into it, so they’re not going to be doing all the sawing,” Fire Rescue Lt. Steven Lawrence said.
The large hole formed on Central Avenue at 7th Street South in St. Petersburg. St. Petersburg Police have closed Central Avenue between 6th and 8th Streets due to the hole.
The street closure and lack of water affected Max Hagyan’s small deli.
“I can’t prepare food and wash my hands. I can’t wash my hands and prepare food. I’ve got to wash dishes and I can’t wash prep area so I can serve people and I can’t do that,” Hagyan said.
Photos: Twitter/St Pete PD
The collapsed wall is having an even greater impact on Underground Ministries.
“We don’t have very much money. I mean, when you do this type of work you don’t have a bank account that’s full,” Associate Director Jeremy Stephens said.
Underground is a coalition of ministries that helps a variety of people in St. Petersburg.
“Some people work with the homeless, some people have mentorship with middle school girls, some people work with the sexually abused and some people work with the sex industry, trying to help people get away from the sex industry,” Stephens said.
WATCH: Water main leak erodes road, collapses building wall in St. Pete.
Two large forklifts are in place to make the building stable. The lead is no longer spewing water. Utility crews bypassed it and dirt has been placed into the hole.
Water was restored during the afternoon.
Police say they were alerted to the collapse around 8 a.m. The building was unoccupied at the time of the collapse and there are no injuries. – WFLA.