Water from malfunctioning sprinkler system closes Petosa’s Family Grocer, damages other businesses

Furniture removed from water-damaged businesses.
Crews at work inside the Wilson Investments office.
The Petosa's parking lot was filled with service trucks like this one Saturday morning.
The clean-up effort underway inside the store.

Updated at 5:40 p.m. Saturday with additional information, photos of damage

A malfunctioning sprinkler system caused significant water damage overnight to Petosa’s Family Grocer in downtown Edmonds and the store will be closed until at least Monday or Tuesday, according to a store employee we talked with Saturday morning.

The water damage spread to four of five businesses located underneath the store as well Bill Wilson of Wilson Investments, the landlord for the building tenants, said that the cause of the sprinkler system problem is still being investigated. No dollar estimate has been placed yet on damages, he added.

Wilson said his father built the entire shopping center complex in 1969, and that the space now occupied by Petosa’s was originally the site of an A&P grocery store.

Bill Brayer, founder and president of My Edmonds News sponsor MS Helping Hands reported that their Donor Closet location at 409 Howell Way was not affected and will be open for business as usual next week. It’s unknown at this time how long the other businesses below Petosa’s will be affected, although numerous crews were on site Saturday afternoon pulling out water-soaked carpeting and ceiling tiles.


  1. A good article to remember in light of the now mandated sprinklers by Edmonds Council on all new homes over 3000sf. It is one thing to lose a can of beens to water damage and quite another to lose you life time collection of family photos, art, etc. when this issue came before council, our and other fire depts spoke for nearly 1 hour on why sprinklers are needed and opposition got 3 minutes each to rebut. a total of 9 minutes of rebuttal.

  2. I own a 150 year old building in Virginia city Nevada. Mark Twain started the territorial
    enterprise in this building in 1860 (the old Washoe club). About 10 years ago they mandated
    sprinklers on all three floors.in 2010 the system failed and caused over $75’000
    in damage that insurance would not cover. It ruined the essence of this historical
    building forever. Yes Government over regulation at it’s ugliest.
    Dave Page

  3. I will never understand the simplistic, short-sighted opinions of some.

    Sure go ahead and decry the mandate for sprinklers and then say “I told you so” when an incident like at Petosa’s happens. The fact is that tragic things happen all the time. If it wasn’t a sprinkler malfunction it would be something else — a fire, an earthquake, a sinkhole, etc.

    Let’s say that sprinklers weren’t required and a fire had started in one of the adjacent businesses and Petosa’s suffered severe damage, or worse — people lost their lives… Everyone would be saying that sprinklers should be required.

    I guess I’d rather risk a malfunctioning sprinkler system than losing lives in a fire. I know lots of cases where fire has killed people. Not so many cases where a sprinkler system killed.

  4. For all those who think your small losses due to a 1 in a 15 million shot of a sprinkler inadvertently going off isn’t worth the risk, ask the families of those 100 people who perished in the night club fire in Rhode Island in 2003 if they would have supported sprinklers. Ignorance is your worse enemy. Next time there’s a fire, throw a bag of groceries at it and see if it extinguishes it.

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