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Water Main Break Spoils End of Downtown Farmers Market

DES MOINES, Iowa — A water main break spoiled the fun at the downtown farmers market Saturday sending thousands of gallons of water rushing into the Court Avenue District.

“It was just like a soft rumble and then it like shook a little bit” said Abigail Kroll.

Kroll was working her first farmers market shift at Java Joes…the noise she heard was a water main breaking right outside her door.

“We looked down and we thought it was like coffee that had spilled or something and then it just flooded the whole street and everybody started yelling and it was an adrenalin rush of getting anything inside” said Kroll.

The water came up within seconds, and sent vendors scrambling to save their inventory.

“A lot of people were hustling around and I saw the water coming up from the middle of the street like a fountain and lots of people were running around trying to pick stuff up. The water was coming like a waterfall” said Madison Dillon.

Within minutes the water was ankle deep in some spots. Vendors and patrons alike helped each other move their items and bring them to dry land. After the rush to clear things out of the street it came time to survey the damage.

“The street was just going up and the street had like, waves underneath of it you could see the cement moving, it was crazy!” said Dillon.

Des Moines Water Works was able to cut the flow of water and the streets drained quickly, but a large sinkhole was left in its wake.

“The road buckled from the pressure of the water, so fourth street will be blocked between court and walnut for an undetermined amount of time” said Lieutenant Joseph Leo.

Crews are now working to fix the pipe, check gas lines, and make sure nearby buildings didn’t sustain damage. No one was injured, and police say the people who were there responded well.

“I guess anytime for a water main break is a bad time but it complicates it when there’s a lot of activity, but everyone did a good job and we appreciate their cooperation” said Leo.

A more exciting end to the downtown farmers market than most people would have liked to see.