SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO) — A water pipe break forced the Union Gospel Mission in Sioux Falls to scramble to find emergency shelter for dozens of guests Tuesday. The pipe burst on the third floor of the mission, flooding the women’s center before the water cascaded all the way into the basement. The St. Francis House is stepping up to provide temporary housing for many of the displaced guests.
One by one, they arrived at the St. Francis House; forced out of the Union Gospel Mission by a wall of water from a burst pipe.
“And the next thing I know, the fire alarm went off and all you here is WOOSH!” Hiedi Slayton said.
Hiedi Slayton quickly grabbed her belongings and made her way out of the flooded building.
“Everybody’s backing up and trying to stay safe and trying not to get electrocuted if there was anything plugged in,” Slayton said.
Most of the women evacuees are staying at the St. Francis House, where the staff here is trying to make the transition from one shelter to another as seamless as possible.
“They have case managers down there. We have a case manager as well. Each one of the rooms is already stocked with their towels that they need as well as their personal hygiene items. This will just let them know that they’re not being set out in the cold to figure it out on their own,” St. Francis House Executive Director Julie Becker said.
Putting up so many new guests wouldn’t have been an option for the St. Francis House without construction of this new and larger building that opened its doors over the holidays three years ago.
“There is no way we would have been able to help the Union Gospel Mission if we wouldn’t have been into this new building, because in the old building, we only had beds for eight women, so this is huge that we were able to step in and utilize our building for its intended purpose,” Becker said.
People have been coming into the St. Francis House throughout the day, dropping off donations that will help meet the needs of the additional guests from the mission. The women arriving here say they’re grateful that an emergency like a burst water pipe won’t send them back on the streets, in the cold.
The Union Gospel Mission says water damage to the building will run more than $100,000. The damage also includes the mission’s thrift store and administration office.