PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A busted pipe and below freezing temperatures transformed the streets of a West Philadelphia neighborhood into an icy mess. A water main to a fire hydrant broke before dawn on Friday morning near 63rd street and Haverford avenue.
“We determined that it was not a water main break, but that it was a broken fire hydrant connection,” said John DiGiulio, a spokesperson for the Philadelphia Water Department.
That means that the street does not need to be completely excavated to fix it, which is good news especially when a leak turns a roadway into an ice rink.
The call came in around 5 a.m., but because of sub-freezing temperatures, turning off valves was tedious.
“As soon as the water was escaping, it was freezing on the roadway,” DiGiulio said. “It covered a lot of our valves that we had to turn off so we actually had crews digging out the valves that were covered under ice.”
About 75 residents, including businesses, lost water during repairs.
The roadway conditions early on caused some SEPTA delays and cancellations, but even for those who drive, there was such thing as the worst case scenario. Due to cars driving by and splashing up the initial overflow, cars were coated in ice.
Service lines are more vulnerable in the cold. They connect the water main to the hydrant and at least in good weather, they are a routine task to fix.