Underground water pipe bursts, flooding west-end Islamic centre and businesses


Centre Manager Bassam Fares looks at the damage following a flood at the MAC Islamic Centre, 6104 172 St., in Edmonton, AB on Tuesday April 18, 2017. Photo by David Bloom

Members of a west Edmonton mosque are scrambling to find temporary new space after a broken underground water pipe filled their facility with up to a metre of muck.

“The water was coming like crazy to the building and caused a lot of flooding, a lot of damage inside the building and also the tenants,” Bassam Fares, manager of the Muslim Association of Canada’s Rahma Mosque, said Tuesday.

“The whole building was like a swimming pool … A lot of dirt and mud.”

Nida Ali walks through the flood damaged women’s prayer area at the Muslim Association of Canada’s Rahma Mosque in Edmonton after it was flooded April 17, 2017, by a broken water pipe.

Bloom, David /


The incident happened when a high-pressure water pipe under the sprinkler room burst Monday around 5:15 a.m. as 30 to 40 people prepared for dawn prayers, Fares said.

“The congregants were about to start the morning prayer, and they heard a big noise like an explosion. In less than two minutes, the water started to come everywhere.”

The torrent knocked holes in the office wall and left high-water marks a metre high. The group went outside, calling 911 and Epcor to shut off the pipe. No one was hurt.

Flooding damaged the two carpeted prayer halls, the atrium, a preschool and other areas, as well as spreading to the day care centres, dental office, restaurant, eye doctor, grocery store and pharmacy that are also part of the complex at 6104 172 St.

Dozens of volunteers helped with the clean up.

The water-damaged atrium at the Muslim Association of Canada’s Rahma Mosque in Edmonton after it was flooded April 17, 2017, by a broken water pipe.


The association is waiting for its insurance company to determine why the pipe broke, but in the meantime officials are contacting nearby hotels, community halls and West Edmonton Mall to find somewhere to meet for Friday services, Fares said.

It’s the biggest gathering of the week, attracting 1,500 to 2,000 people over the day, he said.

“It’s not going to be easy … The place has to be set up in a certain way to offer the services in the way we do it here.”

The group bought the former Lessard strip mall for $5.2 million in 2010 and has been renovating and upgrading it ever since.

Fares called the flood “heartbreaking.”

“We have been building this place brick by brick for the last seven years. Unfortunately, when we were very close to telling people the good news that the renovation was done, this incident happened,” he said.

“This is a second home for the congregants, for the kids, for the preschool.”



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April 19, 2017 |

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