Plaza Water Main Break Closes Roads, Damages Shops

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. --  A water main break on the Country Club Plaza damages at least four businesses Tuesday and shut down part of the Plaza's main drag.

"We rushed down here" says Ralph Liebetrau, co-owner of Decori on the Plaza.

Pumping, stacking and salvaging merchandise was not how Liebetrau thought he would be spending the first day of 2013.

"I was in a panic just trying to get it out of water as much as we good.  Just throwing stuff up on shelves and things," he said.

Liebetrau says around 11 Tuesday morning a six inch water main that feeds the sprinkler system to some of the stores on 47th street between JC Nichols Parkway and Wyandotte busted.

"A six inch main I guess can pump a lot of water in a short period of time," he said.

With most of the stores closed for the New Year Holiday, Liebetrau got the call and was forced to visualize the damage while driving the 40 minutes from his home.

Liebetrau describes the feeling, "That was a sickening feeling because we didn't know how bad it was going to be until we got here.

By the time he arrived, five inches of standing water covered the store's basement, boxes of collectables and merchandise floating at his ankles.

"As soon as we got here, we went downstairs, saw all the water, took our shoes and socks off and tried to start saving inventory," he said.

Liebetrau was told the water started in Coldstone Creamery's basement and traveled downhill.

P.F. Changs and M&S Grill also say they had significant amounts of water in their basements.

"Theres nothing you can do about it.  Its done so we'll just go with the flow.  And hope for better tomorrows," Liebetrau said.

The westbound lanes of 47th street are still closed from JC Nichols to Wyandotte, and with both the street and sidewalk unstable, traffic to some of the businesses will be affected even after the water is pumped out of their basements.

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