Local restaurant flooded by water main break, calls to furnace company spike in deep freeze

Things weren’t so sweet at Sharma Ji restaurant Sunday afternoon, when it, and other businesses in the McPhillips Avenue strip mall, were flooded by a water main break.

“All of a sudden the water started coming from outside,” said Manoj Sharma, the restaurant’s manager. The flooding pushed out both customers and employees.

“We had to shut down the operation all of a sudden,” he said. “We were (panicking),” and left scrambling to clean up, and clean out.

“We had of course the stock of food, it’s going to be wasted,” Sharma said, not knowing how long the closure will last.

Temperatures in Winnipeg swirled into the “below 20s” over the weekend, causing pipes to freeze and furnaces to fail.

Unlike Sharma’s story, Tara Smith with Mr. Furnace said business has spiked.

Story continues below advertisement

“It’s like five to seven times the number of calls we’ve gotten at the end of last week and through the weekend (compared) to, say, three weeks ago,” she said.

Without proper care, a failed heating system could lead to a burst pipe, Smith said — but it’s rare.

“Ninety-eight per cent of our customers will get in touch with us with no heat long before water main breaks are an issue,” she said.

More on Canada

But if you are having issues, she said to look at getting it repaired — or at least consult someone — before it’s too late.

Get the latest National news. Sent to your email, every day.

“The longer you wait, the more damage you’re going to have,” she said. “Short term, it’s going to be $150 call for someone to come out and repair your furnace (and) do a quick fix.

“Worst case scenario, you go to town, your furnace breaks down, you have no heat, your pipes freeze, and now they burst and now you have a major claim,” Smith said.

Something else to consider is snow blocking your exhaust venting and shutting your furnace down.

“Ninety per cent of homes are exhausted outside of your home. Most of them are coming out about two feet high, 18 inches to two feet above ground level,” she said, adding it’s good that your furnace will shut down when the venting is blocked, because that vent releases carbon monoxide.

Story continues below advertisement

It’ll be cold though, so “go outside, check that venting,” Smith said.

Frigid temperatures in Alberta are forcing them to import power from neighbouring Saskatchewan. Bruce Owen with Manitoba Hydro said Manitoba is also importing some power, but exports some, too.

“There’s no need for people to stop using power from using the dishwasher or doing a load of laundry. We’re okay,” he said.

Nonetheless, it’s good to be prepared.

Owen said to have an emergency kit prepared, just in case. “Blankets, flashlights, matches,” are all on the list of what you should have in your kit, he said as well as tin food, pet food, and candles.

He noted that extra caution needs to be practiced if candles are being used.

The key item, however, is “just to be calm,” Owen said.

For now, Sharma is waiting to hear what the damage is from his insurer, with the City of Winnipeg confirming the break was on city property, so is their responsibility to repair.

Sharma hopes to give a warm welcome to his loyal customers soon.

“We have very loyal, great customers. They are calling us and feeling bad, we say ‘sorry, but we want to be open soon.’”

Story continues below advertisement

–with files from Global’s Iris Dyck

Click to play video: 'Winter sports enthusiasts anticipate action as cold snap eases in Winnipeg'

Winter sports enthusiasts anticipate action as cold snap eases in Winnipeg

&© 2024 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.