Homes, Businesses Clean Up After Bronx Water Main Break

By Ida Siegel and Roseanne Colletti
|  Thursday, Jul 28, 2011  |  Updated 11:36 AM EDT
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A water main break in the Mount Hope section of the Bronx caused major flooding Wednesday. Here is raw video from the scene.

NBC New York

A water main break in the Mount Hope section of the Bronx caused major flooding Wednesday. Here is raw video from the scene.

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Bronx Water Main Break [Raw]

A massive water main break in the Mount Hope section of the Bronx has shut down parts of Jerome Avenue Wednesday morning.
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The Mount Hope section of the Bronx is still cleaning up after a major water main break flowed for more than three hours Wednesday, flooding homes and businesses and snarling transit.

Crews are continuing to make repairs to the 108-year-old water main and patching up a huge crater in the road left behind by the main break.

Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Cas Holloway said officials do not know what caused the 36-inch cast iron water main to rupture. He described it as a "trunk main," a major piece of infrastructure in the area that dates to 1903.

"We're going to be doing a thorough investigation into how this break was caused," Holloway said.

Officials said two smaller gas mains located near the busted water main were also broken. Emergency Management Commissioner Joe Bruno said the city had received hundreds of calls about no gas in the area.

He said Con Ed is working on those "slowly and carefully." Residents who smell gas are asked to call 911.

Business owner Carlos Pagan, who owns the Altagracia grocery store in the area, was still pumping three feet of water from the basement Wednesday night, and estimated $15,000 to $20,000 worth of damage done to his business. He said he was hoping to recover the money from the city, and has already gotten a damage claim form.

Office of Emergency Management officials and authorities from the Fire Department were on scene to help residents and business owners. Some locals told NBC New York that water had been shut off in their buildings; the city said there were few water service disruptions.

Bruno said a women's homeless shelter was evacuated and the women were taken to another facility.

Yvette Stewart lives with her husband and three teenage children in a ground floor apartment, where water rushed in and stood about 4 feet deep. The kids escaped through the door but she and her husband had to climb out the window.

"It's devastating," she said. "I lost everything. It's going to be hard starting over, with three kids."

Stewart works at a hospital and her husband is unemployed. The family does not have renters insurance.

The Red Cross said it was providing temporary housing for 12 displaced residents.

The 4 train has resumed normal service and is making all stops in the area.

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