NE Philly Water Main Break Prompts Evacuations, School Closings - Fox 2 News Headlines

NE Philly Water Main Break Prompts Evacuations, School Closings


Officials say it was a 48-inch water main that ruptured Monday morning near the intersection of Frankford and Torresdale avenues, flooding the streets of Northeast Philadelphia.

City officials, during a news conference Monday afternoon, said they don't know the exact cause of the water main break, but they did say the infrastructure dates back to 1907.

Mayor Michael Nutter said water pressure is back, and residents are allowed back into their homes after break not far from where the 48-inch cast iron main is fed by a 60-inch main that was not damaged.

"The main was shut down at 11:30 this morning," Nutter said.

But there's a big cleanup ahead.

"The street will be out for a while," Nutter said. "There's a lot of work to be done. The main is 20-feet-deep down in the ground."

Soon after the rupture was detected by PGW at 8:48 a.m., there were reports of people trapped and being rescued from the top of cars and vans in the area, and 40 children were evacuated from a local daycare.

The loss of water pressure also caused the closure of some 38 Philadelphia public schools at 11:30 a.m. A full list appears at the bottom of this story.

One viewer, John A. Silva, sent FOX 29 News photos of what looks like a river rushing down the street, past a CVS and partially through a used car lot.

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Police reported tons of people without water all of the way past Oxford Circle. The zip codes affected were reported by the Philadelphia Water Dept. to be: 19121, 19122, 19123, 19124, 19130, 19134, 19137, 19140.

Residents in those areas were contacted with reverse 9-1-1 calls about the low water pressure, Nutter said.

The water department tweeted, "Various sections of North Philly & Fairmount may be experiencing low water pressure."

"Given the information we have at this time, it is not necessary to boil your water. We will provide updates of any changes," the water department also posted to its Twitter account.

All roads were closed in the area immediately after the flow began. Alternate routes to get around the scene are Orthodox Street, Castor Avenue and Richmond Street.

SEPTA bus routes 5 and 56 were also detoured in the aftermath.

The city's Department of Health says Health Center 10, located at 2230 Cottman Avenue, was closed due to the main break. A conference call was held with hospitals and other city agencies about the main break.

FOX 29's Leigh Scheps reported from the scene that the children at Nana's Day Care 1 & 2 were taken to the business' third location, at 4350 H Street. All were safe. A mother talked about how she had to keep the children calm as water began rushing down the street.

Nutter praised the fire department's work as "excellent" for handling the day evacuation and that of six residents. 

Among the responders at the scene were the police and fire departments, the city's Office of Emergency Management, L&I, the water department, PECO, PGW, and the Salvation Army.

The water department said pressure had been restored to customers by 2 p.m., but if you are still without water they're asking you to call 215-638-6300.

We had live coverage of the water main break on "Good Day Philadelphia" Monday morning. Those video clips appear after the news conference video above.

We'll have more team coverage on tonight's FOX 29 News at 5, 6 and 10.

WATCH LIVE: FOX 29 News Live Online



Full list of Philadelphia School District closures due to water main break:

Early Childhood Center

  • Rivera Early Childhood Center

Elementary Schools

  • Bache-Martin Elementary
  • Barton Elementary
  • Cramp Elementary
  • Deburgos Elementary
  • Dunbar Elementary
  • Elkin Elementary
  • Forrest Elementary
  • Hartranft Elementary
  • Hopkinson Elementary
  • John Marshall Elementary
  • Juniata Park Elementary
  • McClure Elementary
  • McKinley Elementary
  • Munoz-Marin Elementary
  • Potter Thomas Elementary
  • Sheridan Elementary
  • Sheppard Elementary
  • Solis Cohen Elementary
  • Spruance Elementary
  • Taylor Elementary
  • Thurgood Marshall Elementary
  • Waring Elementary
  • Welsh Elementary
  • Zeigler Elementary

Middle Schools

  • Clemente Middle School
  • Feltonville Arts & Sciences
  • Meehan Middle School 

High Schools

  • Ben Franklin High School
  • Edison High School
  • Fels High School
  • Frankford High School
  • Franklin Learning Center
  • Lincoln High School
  • Masterman High School
  • Philadelphia Military Academy
  • PLA North
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