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Business Owners Heartbroken and Frustrated After Queens Water Main Break

By  Sybile Penhirin and Anton K. Nilsson | October 23, 2015 6:05pm | Updated on October 26, 2015 8:48am

 Some businesses had their basements and parts of their stores flooded after workers struck a water main at an Elmhurst construction site around 8 a.m. Friday.
Business Owners Affected by Queens Flood Say they are Heartbroken and Frustrated
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ELMHURST — Several businesses had their basements and their shops flooded after workers at a construction site near the Queens Place Mall struck a water main and sent a river of water gushing into neighboring streets for several hours on Friday morning. 

"I'm heartbroken," said Veronica Candela, the manager of Paddy's G, a family sport bar that her father has owned for the last 39 years.

The bar, at 8634 Broadway, is one of the several businesses located on the ground floor of a building adjacent to the construction site at 51-35 Reeder St. where the flood erupted after crews ruptured a 20-inch city water main around 8 a.m. Friday.

Candela said she got to Paddy G around 9 a.m. Friday only to see water gushing right into the basement of the bar's building, which is shared by at least two other stores and is accessible through a common backyard. 

"The damages are ridiculous because all of our equipment were in the basement. The beer compressor, the soda machines, the boiler, the heater. I can't even imagine how much that is worth," she said.

"There's still four feet of water within the basement," Candela said, adding there were cracks on the basement ceiling so she wasn't sure when and how the flooding would stop.

"It's scary, because it's a family business and we've been here forever," she said. 

Across for Paddy's G, the owner of Top 99c  Julia Zhuang, was trying to push the water out of her shop with a broom on Friday afternoon.

"It's not good," she said looking at the flooded aisles.""I have insurance but I don't know if it will cover it." 

Zhuang put newspapers on the bottom of the store's front door to prevent water from getting in, but much of the merchandise on the lower shelves still got damaged, she said. 

"I'm mad at the construction site but I can't so nothing about it," she said.

Zhuang did not when she was going to be able to re-open. 

Oscar Zumba, 37, the owner of the Gino's Pizza located two shops down from Zhuang's store, said he was "grateful" his pizzeria didn't get flooded but was still "frustrated" because he couldn't immediately open for business after of the incident. 

"Friday as well as Saturday, those are usually our busiest days, so it's frustrating" he said. "And at the end of the month the landlord will want the rent no matter what. He doesn't care the area got flooded and we couldn't open."