A broken water pipe has flooded a Salvation Army community centre in downtown St. John's, affecting hundreds of people who rely on its services. 

Staff at the New Hope Community Centre on Springdale Street discovered the burst pipe as they arrived for work on Monday morning, with one saying they encountered a river of water coming down the stairs from the upper floor.

Ken Ritson

Maj. Ken Ritson says the flooding has caused 'a major disruption' for New Hope's programs and services. (CBC)

A frozen waterfall clung to one side of the building, where water from the burst pipe had escaped through a window. 

"It was quite a mess," said Maj. Ken Ritson of the Salvation Army, which manages the New Hope Centre. 

"This is a major disruption for us at this time, and we hope to get it cleaned up as quickly as possible." 

The centre provides services to about 500 people through a variety of programs, including a community kitchen, a health clinic, counselling, and adult education. 

The Salvation Army is hoping to move the various services to other properties. 

Many of the displaced services had been on the ground floor, which stood under three feet of water during the peak of flooding. 

The City of St. John's ordered the building to be closed to the public for the time being, while the Salvation Army began assessing the extent of the damage.