Burst main leaves pub with 60,000 litres of water in the cellar as neighbourhood floods
Massive clean-up under way after major junction was flooded to 1.5 metres
Wednesday 07 August 2013
A clean-up operation is under way after a burst water main flooded homes and businesses in a south London neighbourhood.
Water levels have subsided following the mains burst on Half Moon Lane in Herne Hill which left fire crews using boats to navigate waters up to 1.5 metres deep.
London Fire Brigade said crews were working to pump water out of the flooded basements of 37 homes and businesses. It warned residents to remain in their homes for safety.
Bruce Grain, Brixton fire station manager, said: "At its peak the water was up to a metre and a half deep and covered an area of about 200 metres by 200 metres, but fortunately it has now subsided although we will be there for most of the day helping to clean up the area.
"The basements of 37 homes and local businesses have been confirmed to have been flooded with water up to three metres deep and our crews are working really hard to pump out the water and minimise the damage.
"The pub nearby has around 60,000 litres of water in the basement alone and should take an hour and a half to clear with our high-volume pump.
"At the same time we're spraying the road to get rid of the mud so roads can be reopened and people can get on with their business.
"We hope to open a number of roads in the next few hours and help neighbouring shops to reopen.
"People are reasonably upbeat about the disruption. Many residents were able to leave their properties by the back entrances to get to work.
"We're still asking people to stay in their houses at the moment for safety."
The Environment Agency is also at the scene, the LFB said, along with local authority staff and National Power, which has turned off electricity in the affected area.
The gas board is also attending because of the smell of gas, it added.
A woman on her phone at Half Moon Lane in Herne Hill
One local resident, Fran Graham, tweeted: "Woke up to biblical scenes today, water level is dropping so hopefully I can get out of my flat soon."
Ms Graham, 25, a receptionist at environment campaign group Friends of the Earth, said: "The water is pretty much gone now and they are clearing up mud everywhere - all the silt and stuff has come out of the drains. They are hosing down the streets.
Flooded streets after burst water main in Herne Hill
"We are on the third-floor flat - our hallway was a little bit soggy and smelly but all of our stuff is okay.
"Some of the businesses were at least knee-deep in water. I went into the dry cleaners this morning and he was distraught."
Craig Rance, a spokesman for Thames Water, said: "A 3ft-wide water pipe burst in Herne Hill at the junction of Half Moon Lane at around 5am today.
Aerial view of Herne Hill floods from MPS Helicopter
"This has caused substantial flooding to the road and 36 properties in the area. We're really sorry to affected customers and we are working hard to put things right as quickly as possible. Our main priority is to get people's lives and businesses back to normal.
"Our loss adjusters are en route and will soon be talking to people to get the insurance process under way.
"Customers should all still have water running through their taps as we have managed to reroute our network."
A man helps a lady through the water
Local residents stand on the rooftops of shops on Half Moon Lane in Herne Hill
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