Little Italy business owners assess damage caused by broken city pipe

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SAN DIEGO -- Business owners, city adjusters and cleanup crews were in Little Italy Monday assessing the damage caused by a water main break from Sunday.

A 16-inch water main burst early Sunday morning and flooded three blocks on Kettner Boulevard between Hawthorne and Laurel streets.

Residents were left without water for most of the day and it forced several businesses to close near the intersection. It also knocked out trolley service in the area.

While some businesses were able to get back to business as usual, others said it could be months of cleaning.

An estimated 2 to 3 feet of water filled and damaged a 16,000-square-foot shared structure which houses artist and business owner Joey Vaiasuso's art studio and Power Keg Athletics 3.0.

“It’s a huge mess. It’s heartbreaking," said Vaiasuso. “Pretty much everything is totally damaged -- electronics, machinery, saws… and a lot of personal items as well. It goes deep.”

Vaiasuso said each day that goes by is lost wages and he says city adjusters tell him it could be months before he could be working again.

“It’s about a 3 month lead time before we could comfortably get into the space and work is their estimation. So 3 months, that’s a long time. What do we do in the meantime? How do we continue working and supporting our families when everything down here is just damaged, destroyed and no space to work in?” said Vaiasuso.

The owners of Power Keg Athletics 3.0 posted on social media and an online fundraiser about their losses.

"This is my brothers and Mannys heart and soul and quite honestly their livelihood. They have dedicated so much time to their Power Keg Family and as well as service to our country (military),"  Sarah Jo posted.

"Power Keg Athetics had just recently expanded and completed renovations to the location. New equipment, repairs to the gym, and the walls are destroyed," Shawna Norton posted. "At this point we are still mapping out our plan of attack."

San Diego Public Utilities Department told FOX 5 corrosion played a role in the water main break and they will determine the number of businesses that sustained water damage.

A city officials said any property owners and businesses that suffered water damage can file a claim with the City’s Risk Management Department. There are instructions online.

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