Water main break sends water running into basements in North Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Crews were called to the scene of a water main break in North Philadelphia on Friday afternoon.

The water rushed down a storm sewer drain around 4 p.m. in the 2900 block of Waterloo Street.

It also made its way into a number of the basements of row homes, ruining people's belongings
"My house is up to the second step, everything from front to back," said Glenda Torres. "I have my storage bins, a lot of things that don't fit upstairs," she said.

A spokesman for the Philadelphia Water Department says it was a six-inch main that ruptured on the block spewing water into the basements of six homes. Firefighters also shut off power to the homes as a precaution.

Felix Fuentes had as much as a half foot of water in his basement before crews were able to shut the water main off.

"No water, no electric. No nothing. We didn't even eat yet," he said.

A more pressing concern was for a 57-year-old woman with pulmonary disease who depends on an oxygen machine 24/7. The machine, unfortunately, is in the basement where the water made its way in and the power shut off.

Doris Concepcion was having to rely on an oxygen tank until power could be restored and her machine could be brought upstairs for her to use until the floodwaters were flushed out of the basement.
"She needs oxygen," said family friend Joseph Richardson. "She's really supposed to have air-conditioning as well but you can't have that either because the electricity is shut off."

Residents say someone from either the water department or PGW had been doing work about a month ago near where the main ruptured.

"They were working a month ago, they left the patch kind of open and now the main plumbing broke," said Glenda Torres.

A spokesman for the Water Department had no knowledge of any such work but promised to look into it. Meantime, residents were wondering who was going to help them clean up the mess in their basements.

"We need a lot of help," said Richardson. "I don't know what the city is gonna do, but they need to step up and do the right thing."

Crews were expecting to have the water main repaired late Friday night.

Power has been restored to the home with the woman who requires oxygen. And a city translator will be sent in the morning to make sure all her needs are being met.
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