Metro temple, school and cafe working to get back to normal after burst pipe causes damage

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Unity Temple on the Plaza woke up to a rude awakening last Thursday morning.

A pipe burst at the metro building that holds a temple, restaurant and school, and now employees and guests are having to work around the damage until things get back to normal.

"The building is 67 years old -- excuse me, it's 70 years old, and the pipes have served their purpose," Unity Temple CEO Duke Tufty said. "I think they're screaming out: 'I can't do this anymore. It's time to retire!'"

Water was everywhere after the extremely old pipe couldn't take it anymore.

"So they burst, and when we went inside the wall, we found a pipe that was corroded down until it was paper thin," Tufty said. "We know that the building is lined with these pipes, so this won't be the last time."

The building is also home to Eden Alley Cafe and Willow Montessori. All three used to be under the umbrella of Unity Temple, but some years back, they were put under independent management.

The owners of Eden Alley didn't want to provide a statement, but provided FOX 4 with video footage of the damage, showing water spilling across the floor, and photos of water pouring down their stairway.

Now the temple, cafe and Montessori are trying to clean up that mess.

"We have two options. One is to do it all at once, and that would be about a million dollar undertaking," Tufty said. "The other one is to just patch as we go. We don't know if the pipes will last another year, two years, five years. When they break, they break, and the sooner we catch it the less damage. So, it's just take it one step at a time."

Willow Montessori took most of the water with about an inch covering their floors.

"When we got here, it was already a waterfall out the back door, which was much better than everything floating away," Director Marty Dennington said.

It means they have had to get creative with lesson plans for their approximately 45 students.

"We're very lucky that we've been able to move to some of these other spaces," Dennington said. "I don`t know what we would have done if we had to have class in that classroom."

"To everybody, my sympathy goes out to them, but I also give them a great deal of faith that things will correct, and they'll be better than ever," Tufty said.

He said the temple has insurance and hopes to pay out their deductible soon.

"So, we'll hustle and bustle and scrape that up, and maybe pass the plate twice on Sunday," Tufty said.

Eden Alley Cafe posted on Facebook that they will be reopening at 11 a.m. Feb. 23.