Gas leak reported at site of water main break in South Philadelphia

July 23, 2012 5:06:02 AM PDT
Action News has learned that a 4-inch gas main ruptured this morning at the site of the massive water main break in South Philadelphia.

No evacuation have been reported at this time.

The gas main break comes hours after a late night water main break at the intersection of 21st and Bainbridge streets in the Graduate Hospital section of South Philadelphia.

The water main break was reported around 9:00 p.m. Sunday. When Fire and Water Department crews arrived on the scene they found a large water main break was flooding several blocks.

Officials tell Action News the break involved a 48-inch transmission main.

The main supplies much of Center City, so residents in surrounding areas were also reporting low or no pressure late into the night.

Shortly after arrival, officials issued evacuations in the neighborhood, specifically for the 500 and 600 blocks of South 21st Street, as well as the 2000 and 2100 blocks of Bainbridge Street.

"It's not a complete evacuation. Anyone who has water in their basements, we're making sure that they're out," Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers told Action News late Sunday.

The fire department brought in boats to aid int he evacuation, but they weren't needed in the end. Most residents were able to evacuate on their own.

"We had about 3 ½ to 4 feet at the height of the water main break itself," Ayers said.

Ayers said PGW and PECO crews, among other agencies, were working to make sure the situation was under control.

By 11:35 p.m., the water was beginning to recede as crews worked on the streets.

The good news is that water service has been restored to the neighborhood.

The American Red Cross of Southeastern Pennsylvania set up a reception center at E. Stanton School at 17th and Christian streets for the 38 residents displaced by the water main break. Most have been able to return home, but some remain under the care of The Red Cross.

They spent the night at a nearby shelter.

Officials hope to get the evacuated residents back in their homes as soon as possible.

Water Department officials say the water main is from the late 1800s - possibly early 1900s. But whether the problem here was age or something else has yet to be determined as the incident remains under investigation.


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