Major water main breaks in North Philadelphia flood basement, damages several cars

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A massive water main break occurred in North Philadelphia just before 7 a.m. Thursday, near the intersection of Fourth and Berks Street on West Hewson Street. Officials say the 20-inch transmission main was broken. It is over 100 years old.

The water was successfully turned off, but not before flooding the street as well as some residents’ basements.

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Workers are constantly trying to remove thousands of gallons of water. With the water receding, we’re finally getting a look at the giant hole created by the water main break.

Before looking out her window, Anna Outkin and her girlfriend tried to take a shower, but the water was not coming out.

“I was like, ‘Oh, our landlord forgot to pay the water bill.’ And we opened the windows and she was like, ‘Anna, you gotta get up.’ And it got completely submerged. I think like a couple feet of water,” Outkin said.

Seven basements were flooded and several cars were submerged, including Harry Harman’s SUV, which fell on the road.

Big Water Main Breaks Flood Street in North Philadelphia

“I was getting ready to go to work. I turned around and saw the water coming up. I went back up and the road went away,” Hermann said.

John DiGulio of Philadelphia Water says the broken transmission line dates from 1893.

“A main is not necessarily as old as 1893,” DiGulio said.

As she went for her morning walk, Maria Orona says she noticed a small crater overflowing with water in just 10 seconds.

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“Of course, I was mad. I was upset because I called the water department on Monday,” Orona said.

That day, she says that her house was not getting enough water pressure. She says a worker came late Monday night and told her that they would make a note to come back and check down the road.

“If we call with a complaint, it’s because we’ve been here long enough to know that something just isn’t right,” Orona said.

The Philadelphia Water Department says they are looking into Monday’s phone call before commenting on Orona’s criticism.

According to Orona’s daughter Genesis, they are facing many uncertainties.

“It’s all over town now. We can’t but much. We can’t wash, I can’t wash my son’s bottles. He can’t take a bath tonight,” said Genesis Agosto.

There are many pieces left to pick up.

“The clothes that were in the basement, the winter clothes – gone. The water boiler, gone. They don’t understand or understand because after that they go home. They take a bath, take it all away from them. We start this morning passed and there’s still dirt on our feet and stuff,” said Agosto.

Another resident, who was not comfortable speaking on camera, said that his wife is an artist and that her artwork, which was in the basement, was all ruined.

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CBS3’s Brandon Goldner and Siafa Lewis contributed to this report.