Water main break floods part of Kensington

January 11, 2011 2:09:56 PM PST
Cleanup is underway in one Philadelphia neighborhood as residents assess the damage done by a massive water main break Tuesday morning.

It happened at 4th and Thompson Streets in the city's Kensington section. A 36-inch main broke sending an estimated 8-million gallons of water flowing.

The frozen main cracked about 7:15 this morning and water flowed unimpeded until 8:45 a.m.

Now residents must deal with flooded out basements, cars, and other property.

The water has since drained, but the damage is done. A crater now sits where the break occurred and several square blocks are waterlogged and covered in mud.

Neighbors in this part of Kensington opened their doors and looked out their windows this morning to find the unwelcome sight. The only thing worse than a flooded road, as it turns out, is a flooded basement.

Joseph Luciano says he didn't even know a river was cascading into his basement until a neighbor called. "He was like, 'We got a flood.' I said what do you mean we got a flood. He said like, 'A pipe outside.' So I come downstairs, I looked out the door and everything is floating down the street."

The rupture occurred at the corner of Marshall and Thompson Streets - not 20 yards from a local post office. Postal officials say this has not impeded their ability to deliver the mail, but it has impeded a lot of people from getting to work on time.

As for the parked cars, some folks were lucky enough to drain their tailpipes by turning the key. Others could simply not get their waterlogged vehicle's engine to turn over.

Meantime, Water Department officials say there is no telling how long it will take to complete the cleanup and repairs.

John DiGiulio from PWD explains, "Once snow starts falling, it kind of hinders the project. But as long as no one is without water at the time, then we're going to try and get the street repairs fixed as quickly as possible along with the main repair."

Water service is back to normal in the neighborhood. But the same cannot be said about the roads. Thompson Street between 7th and 6th Streets is closed and will remain so for about a week, maybe more, according to officials from the Water Department.