Water-damaged Frankford businesses come up against Philly liability limit


A water main break earlier this week released millions of gallons of water in the Frankford section of Philadelphia.

On Thursday, the owner of Nana’s Day Care, JoeAnna McClain, said she still doesn’t know who will pay for the repairs to her building, which now adjoins a crater around the broken section of the 100-year-old pipe.

“We had 3 to 4 feet in here of water, so what they’re doing now — the city and and the water department — is coming in and cleaning out everything that was damaged and not resolvable,” she said. “Everything the water touched, we can’t save.”

McClain’s insurance company told her they won’t cover “flood damage.”

“This is not a flood,” said McClain. “Nature didn’t rain and take its course and flood my building out. It’s water damage from a pipe.”

The City of Philadelphia, which is self-insured, has a $500,000 cap by law on payouts for any damages.

Across the street, drivers still pull up to Gurpal Singh’s gas station where Singh said repairs could run $80,000. A city official has told him to make repairs and then submit a claim but, Singh said, “I don’t have that much money to do the work right now.”

“If the city [does] not give me [money] up front or they don’t hire their own company to do the work, I cannot open that gas station.” he said.

A city spokesman said agencies are “some way off” from assessing the total damage but that private insurance companies should cover some repairs and businesses may become eligible for disaster assistance loans if the cumulative damage is great enough.

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