Vol. LXIII, No. 52
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Although the store still has no heat or electricity, UPS Store assistant manager Sweda Patel stood in 20 degree weather on Tuesday to perform the few remaining services available: selling boxes and mailing pre-paid packages. The presence of U.S. post office mailboxes requires that the store remain open.
In the meantime, machinery continued to pump water, the result of a broken pipe, that filled the basement of the UPS Store and neighboring Ichiban Japanese restaurant to a depth of about 10 feet last week. Ichiban, which sustained the greatest amount of damage, remains closed. Fire Deputy Chief Roy James said that a building inspector attributed the flood to a two-inch sprinkler pipe that burst.
Its a nightmare, said UPS Store owner Tanuja Shah. I dont know whats going to happen.
Although they came right away, Ms. Shah spoke of a tug of war between the local fire department, American Water, and PSE&G. The water was rising fast. If they had acted a little quicker ten minutes earlier it would not have come to the level it did in my store. One was waiting for the other, she said.
As far as I know there was no tug of war between us, said Mr. James on hearing this description. Although he escorted PSE&G Gas representatives who had been with him on an earlier call to the new one at Witherspoon Street, they just could not do anything until PSE&G Electric arrived. We couldnt proceed until we were sure all the power to the building was cut and the water was de-electrified, Mr. James said. Unfortunately it just took a little bit longer for them to get there than we would have hoped.
We had a great response from local companies, including Task Force 801, who made sure all the buildings were cleared. I want to express my thanks to everyone who responded, Mr. James noted. They really worked hard.
PSE&G could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.
The flood closed Witherspoon Street from Nassau Street to Paul Robeson Place for several hours on Wednesday, December 23. Area merchants were not happy about the disruption to holiday shopping. Electricity and gas service was shut off in neighboring stores as water was pumped out of the basement, and a weight-bearing wall beneath A Little Taste of Cuba was successfully shored up. Verizon telephone service to Palmer Square area stores was also impacted for several hours.
Mr. Pann is doing everything he can to get the power restored, said Ms. Patel, referring to building owner Chelsey Pann, who also owns Hunan Chinese Restaurant at 157 Withersoon Street. Hes waiting for approval from the Borough. Hopefully, well reopen on Saturday, or, at the latest, Monday.
Both Ms. Shah and Ms. Patel expressed gratitude for the consoling messages they received from their Princeton customers in the aftermath of the flood. Ms. Shah described them as great supporters.
We dont care about the damages, but we do care about our customers, said Ms. Patel.
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