Frozen pipes cause popular Anacostia business to close doors

Parts of our region have stayed below freezing for 12 days. And the cold snap is packing a major punch to a Southeast DC business.

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) - Parts of the DC region have stayed below freezing for 12 days, and the cold snap is packing a major punch to a Southeast business.

Capitol Hill Crab Cakes in Anacostia was forced to close its doors after pipes froze and burst open last week.

The owner and father of two young children said his insurance would not pay to fix the broken pipes, and his landlord is making him foot the bill.

Chef Horatio Davis found his businesses roof caved in, pipes gushing water, and icicles hanging from the ceiling.

“All of our dry storage. All of our little containers, plastic containers — all of it just done. It was stuff just floating,” Davis explained.

Davis grew up in Southeast DC and opened his business in Anacostia because it is a food desert with only a few healthy options.

“Potato chips, soda, candy, beer. Anything that ain’t good for you, you’ve got it,” he said.

Davis said the seafood joint he opened more than two years ago was doing well before the flooding.

Davis did not own the building and said his landlord is refusing to take care of the problem.

The language in Davis’ lease was clear.

The signed document stated that the landlord is responsible for keeping the structural walls repaired, but the tenants are responsible for virtually everything else – including the electrical and plumbing.

“I understood that. Struggle. Fine. Do it. Pay it. Get it done. But this — I just didn’t feel like it is mine,” Davis told WUSA9. “It couldn’t have been mine because it was coming from the ceiling above me.”
 
Davis hired a plumber who tracked the leak to an upstairs bathroom which is inside of a unit Davis does not pay for.

However, Davis said the building owner is still making him responsible.

“I have no money coming in. I still have two babies that have needs to be taken care of. I still have a roof over my head that needs to be taken care of,” Davis explained. “There is still gas, electricity, water --.” 

The dedicated chef has a lot on his plate but has remained in good spirits.

Community members have been donating money on a GoFundMe page to help keep Davis from closing his doors for good.

“I don’t really have -- I don’t have the opportunity to throw my hands up. I don’t have the opportunity to let things just work themselves out because I do have two children,” Davis said.

WUSA9 reached out to the building’s landlord for comment, but a phone call had not been returned on Monday evening.

© 2018 WUSA-TV


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