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Several homes evacuated, schools closed following 48-inch water main break that caused major flooding

By KYW Staff

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    PHILADEPHIA (KYW) — A major water main break that flooded the streets Wednesday morning in Philadelphia’s Kingsessing section has been secured, according to the Philadelphia Water Department. Eyewitness News has been told the 48-inch break happened at the intersection of 56th Street and Springfield Avenue around 6 a.m.

The 48-inch water main is one of the largest types of mains that travels through the city. It moves thousands of gallons of water.

Officials say sewer systems in the area were fully working and able to capture all the water from the main break. Crews are working diligently to fix the roadway, but it’s going to take some time before the intersection at 56th Street and Springfield Avenue reopens.

More than a dozen public schools in the area closed on Wednesday due to having no water or low water service. Families were asked to pick up students who may have arrived at schools before the decision to close by the School District of Philadelphia.

The 12th Police District at 55th Street and Woodland Avenue has relocated operations to the 18th Police District until further notice. There’s currently no water service at the 12th District building.

Five people were rescued and evacuated in the area, including one that was rescued from their basement. Three properties closest to the main break at 56th and Springfield were evacuated. Officials say everyone else can shelter in place.

Philadelphia Gas Works is working in the area to help put out pilot lights on gas appliances in flooded basements to reduce potential fire concerns. If water puts the pilot light out, then you may have a gas leak.

Officials aren’t allowing anyone in the affected area to retrieve their cars until there’s a proper inspection. License and Inspections will most likely be checking the stability of the area.

“I never walked through nothing like that,” Dray Young, who was weaning trash bags over his shoes to avoid the mess left behind from the break, said. “On 58th and Chester Avenue, you couldn’t even get through there. Like, you had to go over like two blocks around. You couldn’t cut up no blocks because all the water is rushing down the block. I was looking for a sidewalk to try to walk on, couldn’t find one. I was like, ‘Ugh, I’m going to put these on.’”

Councilman Malcolm Kenyatta Johnson is advising residents throughout Southwest Philly to expect low water pressure throughout the day while water department crews continue to work on repairs.

The Route 13 trolley service is operating with a shuttle bus service between 49th and Chester Avenue and Yeadon Loop until further notice. Other local bus detours are expected in the area.

Residents in the area affected by the main break can get help by visiting this website: water.phila.gov/drops/response-to-main-break-at-56th-and-springfield

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