Water Main Break Floods Brooklyn Blocks

April 19, 2002
The rupture of a 90-year-old water main in Brooklyn sent a torrent of water through the streets of Flatbush, causing a messy commute for tens of thousands.

Gushing water from the 5 a.m. breach of the 20-inch main carved a massive hole nearly 20 feet long in Nostrand Ave. between Clarkson Ave. and Lenox Road.

Firefighters and emergency crews laid sandbags across subway grates as Mayor Bloomberg inspected the damage. At one point, a tow truck removing cars from the street had to be rescued as it began to sink into the hole.

The flood forced the Transit Authority to shut the 2 and 5 subway lines from 5:25 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. between Flatbush and Franklin Aves., leaving about 60,000 commuters scrambling to find another way to get to work.

Repairs were slow to start as workers labored to avoid a KeySpan gas main. Crews adjusted the water system to maintain pressure at nearby Kings County Hospital and Downstate Medical Center.

People complained of brown water trickling from their taps – and were furious that some neighborhood stores doubled the price of bottled water.

City Department of Environmental Protection officials said tap water was restored to most buildings by noon, though several buildings on the east side of the block were still dry last night.

Source: NY Daily News