Boil advisory lifted after water main break floods apartment garage in downtown St. Louis

Published: Nov. 18, 2022 at 6:33 AM CST|Updated: Nov. 19, 2022 at 8:51 AM CST
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - A water main break caused parts of Market Street and other areas in downtown St. Louis to be flooded Friday.

The intersection of 11th Street and Market and the intersection of 13th and Lucas had water main breaks overnight. News 4′s Damon Arnold says the aftermath reflected that of an earthquake. The water is no longer present at 13th and Lucas, which is one block away from the St. Patrick’s Center.

The call came out just before midnight. In addition to the roads, basement-level apartment garages holding dozens of cars were flooded as well. One resident says he was trapped in an elevator when water started flooding in.

“All of a sudden, lights start flickering and it plummets, just collapsed,” said Matthew Angarita, a resident who was rescued from an elevator during the water main break. “I fell, hit my back, then all of a sudden water’s coming in and I said, ‘oh God, the water’s coming in, I got to get out of here, this is crazy.”

“Honestly, it was frustrating and exasperating and discouraging,” said Mike Booker.

Booker lives at McGowan Lofts, one of a handful of apartment complexes that were impacted by the floodwaters.

“It was like a déjà vu,” said Manuel Garcia, who also lives in the same building.

It was a déjà vu kind of feeling because both Garcia and Booker experienced the same kind of flooding back in May 2021, when their parking garage flooded from another water main break in the same area.

“This time not nearly as bad, we have internet, we have power,” said Booker. “Elevator is out. So, it’s not as bad, [but] all our cars are likely totaled.”

Booker says many residents purchased new cars after the previous flood, which makes today’s incident even more frustrating.

“It tells you that there needs to be some action taken because if you want this city to grow, if you want this city to be a better place, if you want more people moving into the city, these things need to be fixed and improved,” said Garcia.

News 4 reached out to city regarding residents’ concerns. A spokesperson for the city said on Friday that water division crews have been working diligently to address the break. However, they did not respond to questions regarding what accountability the city has and how this issue can be prevented in the future.

“The city basically said this is not our fault last time and we’re just sort of expecting that this time although it doesn’t seem right to us,” said Booker.

News 4 uncovered back in 2021 that the city is protected by a Missouri statue called “sovereign immunity,” which would keep them from having to take financial responsibility for the water main break. Residents say this is unfair, considering it has now happened twice.

“We would love to have the city on the hook for this,” said Booker. “We hear about all this COVID money, and this build back better money or even stadium money. It’s like, ‘hey guys, let’s at least take care of these giant water mains and these potholes and stuff like that.”

Back in 2021, a spokesperson for the water department said residents should work with their insurance first before their insurance company can file a claim with the city.

A flooded parking garage in McGowen Lofts.
A flooded parking garage in McGowen Lofts.(Mike Booker)

St. Louis City Water Division issued a Precautionary Boil Advisory for parts of the Downtown, North, and South City as a result of the main break. It was lifted around 8:30 Saturday morning. For more information, click here.