Explosion May Cost Building Owners Thousands
by Breanna Fuss, Reporter
January 28, 2013 5:32 PM
Monday, Xcel Energy crews finished fixing what was damaged in Friday’s underground explosion in Downtown Sioux Falls. Officials still aren’t sure what may have caused the fire. But now that everything is ‘back to normal,’ those affected are tallying up just how much the power outage could cost them.
Friday morning’s big bang left portions of Downtown Sioux Falls in the dark. For those who own apartment buildings affected, what didn’t seem like a big deal at the time may cost them tens of thousands of dollars.
"It seemed at that point minor that we had no power, so every body came to work, and we all thought a couple of hours and we will be fine,” said Joann Messersmith, with Legacy Real Estate.
Messersmith said three buildings the company manages were affected by Friday’s early morning explosion.
"We haven't had an outage like this in 20 years, we just weren't sure how fast the buildings would loose heat, how fast would things start to freeze,” Messersmith said.
So she said they rented two generators. One for the Security National Bank Building on ninth and Main Avenue and another for Carnegie Apartments on Dakota and Tenth Street. Luckily, their third building, Direct Line, didn’t need one.
Messersmith said although preventing frozen pipes is worth the price, the final cost, has her worried.
“In this economy everybody has been looking at you don't try and save a couple thousand dollars, in this economy, the owners have really gotten to how you can save $50,” said Messersmith.
She said the generator used for the Security National Bank Building alone might cost $10,000 to $20,000 to rent. Not the mention the cost of diesel fuel to run it.
"(It) Burn(s) 10 to 15 gallons of diesel fuel per hour...and they ran for at least 24 hours,” Messersmith said.
The cost of manpower may be pricey as well. Messersmith said the electricians were working on overtime to get the job done.
And it has left her and many others with one big question they hope is answered soon.
“We aren't sure who will be footing the bill,” said Messersmith.
She also said tenants will not have to pick up any of the cost and rent will not be affected. Messersmith also said if tenants had to stay in a hotel, renters insurance should cover the cost.
Xcel Energy said they’ve hired a forensic engineer who is investigating the cause of the explosion.