"I came in here and some areas in here were up to two to three inches of water, I was just in shock" explained Weekend Wearhouse Owner Dan Torres. That's the overall feeling for most store owners inside the Garden Walk Mall in downtown Chico Monday, after arriving to work to find the entire mall had been flooded with two to three inches of water because of a ruptured sprinkler pipe. The pipe burst sometime during the night, and now shop owners are dealing with soggy carpets and damaged merchandise. " My sewing machines were fairly safe, but I've got power strips and foot pedals that were on the floor that are all saturated" said Karin Martin, owner of Chico Quality Alterations, Torres adds " Formals are wet, clothes are wet and my fax machine is fried".
Crews from Cleanrite Buildrite spent the majority of the day sucking up the water and tearing up carpets which will need to be replaced in almost every one of the 12 stores the mall houses. Many of the store owners say they are hoping they will be allowed to open Tuesday for holiday shoppers. " This particular week of the year is the very best week of business" explained Steve Catterall, owner of Gold Estate Jewelry. Martin added that " When you're self employed no matter what you do, you are relying on that income day to day and to miss even a day of work can be devastating".
Still, the store owners are trying to be as optimistic as possible. "I'm gonna be thankful for the things I've got, and it's Christmas" said Catterall. And speaking of Christmas, amazingly none of the angel tree gifts in one mall shop were damaged. The water line actually stopped just inches away from the gifts.
Damage to the building and flooring will be covered by the mall's insurance. Store owners say the damage done to their merchandise should be covered by their personal insurance.