(WBIR) Several companies said they are in clean up mode after a massive water main break in downtown Knoxville caused heavy damage to nearby buildings.
The owner of John H. Coleman building allowed WBIR to survey the damage: hallways and rooms filled with standing water, mud and trash; a collapsed roof; papers and product scattered across the floor.
"When I got here it was like reverse niagra falls. It was just spraying on top of our building here and with great force," said Buddy Cruze, who has been the owner since the 90s.
The break happened at about 11:45 p.m. Wednesday at the intersection of State and Main streets, directly above the John H. Coleman building.
"The underground of the road washed into our building so all of the silt and the mud and the gravel are all in here ,so it's pretty totaled inside," said Cruze.
Cruz did not know the cost of the damage to the John H. Coleman building, but said administrative offices would be temporarily relocated to his house.
"We've weathered the storm, no pun intended . So our customers need to know they can feel free to call us," laughed Cruze. "We are still in business. I want everyone to know that we've already released all of our installs today to go an install and our service techs are running."
It was a different story next door at Sky Firm International.
The CEO and owner of the building, Blair Gibbs, said several of his tenants had to close without running water.
"We're having to reroute clients, move things to houses, shut down in some cases, so it's been a huge disruption to business as usual," said Gibbs.
Gibbs showed 10News flooding in the downstairs of his building. At least a quarter of an inch of water was standing on the tile after crews had already mopped twice.
"We've got to keep an eye on this, since it could continue to seep in through the back corner," said Gibbs. "And we're worried about mold damage."
Upstairs, Gibbs' wife runs a spa, offering services like facials and chemical peels.
"Unfortunately, I've had to reschedule a lot of clients because obviously I need water to do my services," said Gibbs. "I need water for facials, and my towel warmer, and for the restroom for clients."
Employees who work in the BBT building were also impacted. The 24-story skyscraper is home to dozens of companies, many of which started operations late or closed down early due to the loss of running water.
"When you look at it up here, you can see how large the hole is, how much damage was done, and for us that means no water to the building. That means no barthrooms," said Ned willard, who works for Paine, Tarwater, adn Bickers LLP. "It's a bit of an inconvenience, but I really give a lot of credit to our property manager for being able to work this all out for us."
Business owners said they did not expect to have running water again until Monday, at best.
KUB said crews are still working to figure out what caused the break.