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Flooding in downtown Johnson City, but not from rain

By Lyndsey Price, lprice@wcyb.com
Published On: Sep 24 2013 05:00:03 PM CDT
Updated On: Sep 24 2013 04:42:57 PM CDT

Flooding returns to downtown Johnson City, but this time it's not weather-related. Some businesses are drying out and cleaning up from being filled with water.

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. -

Flooding returns to downtown Johnson City, but this time it's not weather-related. Some businesses are drying out and cleaning up from being filled with water.

Water filled the streets in downtown Johnson City Monday night, but it didn't rain a drop. "I looked up and there was water rushing down Main Street," says Laura Prescott, who works at Atlantis in downtown.

Prescott tells us water was coming at their store from both directions. "The whole hallway was filled with water. It was coming in our door down the stairwell then started coming in the shop," adds Prescott.

Atlantis isn't the only business with water damage; next door at Massengill's there was five feet of water in the basement, and The King Center across the street had flooding too. "In some parts it was almost two feet [deep]. All the elevator shafts were full of water," says director of re-development in Washington County Tennessee, Shannon Castillo.

We learned the water came from a water line that was hit during construction, leaving a mess in downtown Johnson City. "A contractor dropped a steel plate that you would used to cover an open trench. They were trying to make it safe for the day and hit a 12-inch water main," says Johnson City director of water and sewer Tom Witherspoon.

The water main hit belongs to Johnson City ,but it was hit by a different contractor. Witherspoon tells us the contractor told their insurance company and has an inspector on the site. "They're setting up a claims process on that and they'll determine whether they will pay for the claim or not, but that's the first step," adds Witherspoon.

The water was turned off for about nine hours Monday night, but it wasn't a widespread outage.

Meanwhile, the stores downtown hope people will still come shop despite the mess. "I'm just putting positive energy out there that a lot of people will venture downtown even though we're kind of a mess right now," says Prescott.

The city tells us they will have the information available for businesses to file claims.

Apartments that are under construction were also filled with water so crews are also cleaning up that site.