Store stays open despite burst pipes

Kimberly Feather

Disaster sometimes strikes at the worst possible time and when least expected. This was the case for one Joplin retail store.

Employees of the J.C. Penney store located in the Northpark Mall were surprised to hear their store had suffered extreme damage from burst water pipes. Not only one, but two water pipes burst, at two different times, leaving mall maintenance and security working extra hard to clean up the damage.

The first water pipe was located above the children’s department and burst two weeks before Christmas. While fixing the problem, maintenance discovered the pipe was old and corroded, which caused the material inside to leak out and eventually led the pipe to burst.

The second pipe was the main water pipe in the store, located above the lingerie department. The joint on this pipe broke. While maintenance crews where trying to fix it, the joint broke a second time.

“Maintenance and security worked hard to clean up the damage so we did not have to close our store,” said Bill Ackelmire, store manager.

A lot of merchandise and a few ceiling tiles located in these departments were the extent of the damages.

“Six racks of clothing and an entire wall of merchandise were the main problems we had in this department,” said Jessica Peterson, floor associate. “This department was not really that bad. The other departments received more damage when the main pipe of the store burst.”

Sales associates said many of the customers in the store at the time the pipe burst were already asking if the merchandise would go on sale.

To the customers’ disappointment, that didn’t happen because the store had to return all of the damaged merchandise in order to receive a full refund.

Ackelmire believes the store has solved the problem and will not need to worry about flooding in the future.