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Burst pipe floods music venue on South Broadway

DENVER (KDVR) — An independent music venue has been forced to shut down because of water damage from a broken pipe. Now, they’re asking for donations to help reopen. 

“We were hoping, fingers crossed, best-case-scenario, we might be able to get open for a little bit late September, early October. And now it feels like it’ll be lucky if we’re open by the end of the year,” Scott Happel said.

Happel is co-owner of HQ, an independent music venue along South Broadway. 

“We host concerts, we host DJ night, we host burlesque and drag,” he said. 

A drum covered in mud
HQ, a music venue on South Broadway, has been forced to shut down because of water damage from a broken pipe. As Ashley Michels reports, they’re asking for donations to help reopen. (KDVR)

According to Happel, the business has been a booming success since it first opened in July 2020. It is now closed indefinitely.

Tuesday evening, a broken pipe sent water gushing through a brick wall in HQ’s basement and filled all 3,200 square feet from floor to ceiling. 

“I arrived and the water was about two and a half steps from the top of the stairs,” Happel said.

Doors ripped in half at HQ, mud everywhere

The water is now mostly gone, but the damage is significant. Doors have been ripped in half, walls have been cracked, paint is ruined and there is mud covering nearly every surface. 

“You can see the mud is on the ceiling because the water literally filled up all the way to the ceiling and was coming up the stairs,” Happel said. 

He estimates they have lost $100,000 to $125,000 worth of furniture, equipment and inventory. 

“The landlords of course have insurance for their building, and we of course have insurance for our business,” he said.

However, Happel said both policies have an exception “that if water originates from outside of your structure, none of the damage is covered.”

“We have not gotten the final determination, but we have been told not to expect anything,” Happel said. 

Orange construction fencing in front of a business front on South Broadway
HQ, a music venue on South Broadway, has been forced to shut down because of water damage from a broken pipe. (KDVR)

The business is now fundraising to try and make ends meet while they clean up and renovate. 

“We have absolute loss of income. We have no business. Our staff is all out of work, either looking for other jobs or filing for unemployment. The power bill doesn’t go away. Our rent doesn’t go away,” he said.

Happel suspects the damaged pipe is connected to a construction project that he said began on the street outside his business two days before the disaster. 

“They’ve ripped up the street. They’ve got big heavy machinery running over the water main valve over and over again. And I’m not an engineer. I don’t know if that caused the problem, but that seems convenient that that started happening and then two days later it broke and our business is destroyed,” he said.

If you’d like to donate, click here.

Denver Water said building owns the pipe

According to Denver Water, the service line that connects the business to the water main is where the damage occurred to the pipe. Denver Water said the building owner, not the city, owns that pipe.

“We are unable to identify an exact cause for the break on the customer-owned line, as the only information we are able to gather is what we see once we arrive and/or dig down to a broken pipe. All we know for sure is that the broken customer-owned service line was not directly hit by the separate construction project occurring on this block,” Denver Water said in an email to FOX31. 

Denver Water said pipes can break for many different reasons including age, material, the type of soil surrounding it, water pressure inside the pipe and fluctuations in temperature. 

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