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Water Main Break Causes Serious Damage At Midtown Church

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A well known church in Midtown suffered extensive damage following a massive water main break in the area.

Leaders at Saint Peter's Church, located at the corner of East 54th and Lexington Avenue, said the break was so intense, the majority of the church flooded, CBS2's Kiran Dhillon reported Tuesday.

"It was one of these experiences that you can never possibly imagine. Everywhere you moved was water and mud," Senior Pastor Jared Stahler said.

Crews worked diligently to clear the water, but there is a line two to three feet high that shows just how deep the water was in some areas.

Saint Peter's Church water leak 2
Saint Peter's Church water damage (Photo: CBS2)

Water gushed in as the entire sanctuary flooded, damaging the beloved organ along the way and demolishing the lower level.

The damages is extensive at every level.

"We have electrical systems that have been completely fried. We have drywall that is  soaked. We have ceilings that havecollapsed," Stahler said.

Church leader said the water started coming in early Monday morning.

"Downstairs, we have an office and the theater was completely under water. The damage was a disaster because we have a lot of instruments -- piano, organ -- and documents, many different documents," Pastor Fabian Arias said.

"Some of this material is absolutely priceless, irreplaceable," Stahler added.

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The city confirmed there was a water main break at East 54th and Lexington, adding the church should file an insurance claim with the comptroller's office.

The church said because the leak happened off its property, it's not certain its insurance will help with any costs. It is starting the process of filing the overwhelming claim.

"Absolutely catastrophic for our communication, for our church," Arias said.

The church estimates the repairs will cost millions of dollars.

"Hopefully we'll see responsible parties take responsibility for what is really an overwhelming situation for any community of faith, but it's particularly difficult for us. We're in the middle of a pandemic and more than 60 members of our congregation have died of COVID-19," Stahler said.

Until everything is sorted with the insurance, the church is asking for community donations to help.

CBS2's Kiran Dhillon contributed to this report

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