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Water Main Break, Gas Leak Wreak Havoc In Port Richmond

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diana-web Diana Rocco
Diana Rocco joined the Eyewitness News team as a general assign...
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By Diana Rocco

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) –A water main break combines with a ruptured gas line to create one giant mess for Port Richmond residents.

Nearly two dozen residents had to be evacuated earlier Wednesday.

They have been allowed to return home tonight, but they will be spending the night without power. Crews continue to work on this water main that wreaked havoc on the neighborhood.

Emergency crews pulled apart the 3000 block of Livingston Street after a water main break causes a gas leak.

“The street ultimately collapsed. We had some water damage inside the houses,” Anthony Sneidar, Jr. of the Philadelphia Fire Department said.

Brian Maude stands in his basemen that was flooded (credit: Paul Kurtz/KYW)

Brian Maude stands in his basemen that was flooded (credit: Paul Kurtz/KYW)

A six-inch main broke just before 1 p.m. Wednesday. The street collapse forced a gas main to rupture. Neighbors said water started bubbling through the street and into their homes.

“It was up to the third step in my basement and everything’s floating,” Kimberly Logue said.

“It was coming out of the ground, coming out of the walls like a water fountain,” Mark Starr said.

“About five or six feet of water, it was coming through walls, so I couldn’t do anything,” Emile Pajkert said.

Pajkert moved his car just before the street underneath it sunk.

Neighbors say multiple calls to the water department didn’t get a response.

“Since we’ve been calling from about 1215, 1230, nobody showed up,” Pajkert said.

“I called back a fourth time, and they still somehow didn’t seem to believe me,” Starr said.

“It was coming though the street, through the curb, and we were calling and they said they would be out, but  never came until after the fire department all got here,” George Cinteron said.

Twenty homes were evacuated, firefighters inspected basements and tested for gas levels.  The Water Department says they received two customer calls, but it wasn’t a high priority.

“The first call to the water department came in around one o’clock today.  And it came in as water in someone’s basement,” Debra McCarty, Deputy Commissioner of the Philadelphia Water Department said.

Now those allowed to return home have been left to pick up the pieces.

“I have pictures of my grandmother in the basement. Like that can’t be replaced,” Casey Logue  said.

The water department tells CBS 3 tonight that this break was most likely weather-related and they will be sending an assessor out to the neighborhood to survey the damage, so residents who were affected can file a claim.

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