Cleanup begins after water main break in Northeast Philadelphia

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Homes flooded after water main break in NE Philly: Jeannette Reyes reports during Action News at Noon on January 2, 2018. (WPVI)

A muddy mess is all that was left after an 8-inch water main burst early Tuesday in Northeast Philadelphia.

"I woke up to rushing water at 3:00 in the morning," said homeowner Tom Jares.
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Action Cam on scene of Northeast Philadelphia water main break on January 2, 2018.

Jares suffered the most damage in the area.

He lives at the corner of Minden and Medford roads. A brown water mark on his driveway shows how far the water rose.

The river of water receded hours later, revealing a mound of mud three high. Jares' Cadillac was just about engulfed in it all.

"There was another vehicle behind it," Jares told Action News. "I was able to get that out of the driveway. The other one, I tried to start it and all of the electronics just froze up."

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Water main break in Northeast Philadelphia. Jeannette Reyes reports during Action News at 5 a.m. on January 2, 2018.

Jares said his basement will need to be gutted now after water rushed through that too.

"I came down and saw a foot of water in my basement," he said. "I just opened up the baby door, and it just rushed out. But it left all of this mud and damage everywhere."

For Jares' neighbors, the biggest inconvenience was loss of water service for most of the day.

"This morning when I got up to go to the bathroom the toilet wouldn't flush, and then I checked the sink," said Jim Long. "I had no running water out of the spigot."

The Philadelphia Water Department said it has seen an average of 22 leaks per day, between broken service lines and water mains.

Crews are simply struggling to keep up with repairs. Though old pipes are usually a factor, the consistent freezing temperatures are mostly to blame.

As of noon Tuesday, about 125 homes remained without water service.

The water department said all service was expected to be restored by the end of the day Tuesday.

According to officials, while age is usually a reason in these water main breaks, the frigid temperatures are quite a big contributing factor to these recent incidents.

Another water main break was reported around 5:30 a.m. Tuesday at Ashton Road and Grant Avenue.

Crews also dealt with a break in Roxborough on Monday and one in Fox Chase on Sunday.
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