By Oren Liebermann, John McDevitt And Mike Dougherty
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Water is now restored to homes and businesses after a water main break in the Old City section of Philadelphia Saturday afternoon.
A Philadelphia Water Department spokesman said a 36 inch main burst around 12:15 p.m. at 3rd and Walnut Streets.
The PWD says they were looking into a report of a leak and as they got toward the water main, it suddenly ruptured. This caused water to rush through the streets of Old City, forcing closures as it spread.
“The water’s probably about five feet high, coming out of the ground for about a half an hour straight,” Old City resident Laura Malchiorre said.
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According to another woman, it looked like the back lot of a movie studio with a raging river running through the historic cobble stone streets.
“I just arrived back from L.A. last night where I actually went to Universal Studios and saw what was a movie set and when I arrived on the corner of 3rd and Walnut, I saw what appeared to be a movie set like a geyser of water.”
Firefighters evacuated three families from their homes for several hours. Nobody was injured.
The city said buildings suffered mostly minor damage with the most serious damage being the roadways. The pavement buckled under the force of water, leaving cracks and crevices across Walnut Street.
The impact was also felt well beyond the site of the break. Many residents and businesses, including 6th District Police Headquarters, Reading Terminal, and the Fire Administration Building, were experiencing low water pressure.
PWD and the Streets Department will assess the damage to the streets before determining how much repair work is needed.