UPDATE: Water main, sprinkler system bursts, forcing evacuation at W. Wichita hotel

By: Phil White Email
By: Phil White Email

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Wichita, Kan. -- A water main break at an extended stay hotel in west Wichita forced guests to evacuate and find another place to stay Wednesday afternoon.

A pipe supplying the fire sprinkler system on the fourth floor of Value Place, near Kellogg and Ridge, burst about 3 p.m. That sent water throughout the hotel.

"Just being really quiet and enjoying Christmas today," Value Place guest Sherry Risick described her Christmas.

That quiet Christmas afternoon was quickly interrupted.

"All the sudden, we saw water," Risick said. "My bathtub is dripping, the kitchen is all wet and we just ran out of there because they said the floor was collapsing."

The Wichita Fire Department said it wasn't the floor or roof collapsing, but a broken water main that sent guests out into the cold.

"We've got anywhere between four to six inches of water here on the fourth floor trickling clear down here to the ground floor, where we've got a couple of inches of water on the floor here," said Wichita Fire Lt. Brad Blue.

Risick and her family had to run through that water to get out.

"It was a flood," she said. "My shoes are wet. The baby's shoes are wet. We're all wet."

Carlos Olmos, another hotel guest, said getting out was hectic.

"Everybody was panicking, wanting to get out, you know," he said. "They noticed something was not right."

Value Place guests got out with what they could grab and they hope the rest did not suffer too much damage.

"I took what I could get now out of the room and I still have a lot of other belongings," Risick said. "All of the kids' Christmas toys, our Christmas stuff is all in the room right now."

Lt. Blue blamed recent cold weather for the water main burst. He said the frozen pipe had begun to thaw Wednesday and that caused it to break.

The fire department and Value Place are still working to determine how much it will cost to repair the damage. Value Place was also working to find guests other places to stay.

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