Philadelphia

Millions of Gallons of Water Flow After Water Main Break in West Philly

A massive water main break forced the evacuations of several homes and sent millions of gallons of water flowing onto the streets of a Philadelphia neighborhood Sunday morning.

Philadelphia Water Department officials said a 36-inch water main ruptured around 4:30 a.m. on 52nd Street in West Philadelphia.

The break sent approximately 12.5 million gallons of water flowing into the streets in the neighborhood.

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As a result of the water main break, 14 people were evacuated from their homes and placed in temporary shelter at West Philadelphia High School. Some residents reported having ankle-deep water in their homes.

"The water started coming through the back door and it just got bad," said Steve Johnson, one of the residents. 

Workers with the Water Department were able to shut off the flow of water shortly before 7 a.m.

Several parked cars in the area were partially submerged and damaged as the water broke the windows. 

Philadelphia Gas Works crews were called to the scene after a sinkhole opened up on the street and a partially submerged car went into the hole, coming to rest against a gas main. PGW workers had to shut off the valve before crews could remove the car.

The cause of the water main break, which was installed in 1885, was not immediately known.

The Red Cross is assisting those impacted by the water main break. Some residents are staying with family and friends while others are staying inside their homes despite not having any electricity. 

Philadelphia City Hall has not yet revealed what damage will be covered and who will pay for it all. Many of the victims don't have insurance. 

"I hope the city steps up and makes it easy for us," Johnson said. "I'm pretty sure they can do it." 

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