Camden: Residents evacuated after burst water main floods street
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Thousands have been left without water and dozens have been evacuated after a burst water main flooded a London street. London Fire Brigade (LFB) said eight fire engines and about 60 firefighters were called to swanky Belsize Road in Camden, where house prices average £780,000 according to rightmove.co.uk, at 2.50am on Saturday after a 42-inch water main burst, triggering flooding to a depth of half a metre across an area of around 800 metres.
The fire service said that main had been isolated on Saturday afternoon, but a further 15-inch water main had also burst and around 100 properties were affected by floodwater.
London Fire Brigade said multiple homes have been flooded and firefighters had to lead around 25 residents to safety.
Footage shared on social media shows emergency services using small boats and helping residents wrapped in blankets to safety.
Stefano Calcagni, from Hammersmith, was dogsitting for a friend in a first and second-floor property on Belsize Road when he woke to a text telling him about the floods on Saturday morning.
The 48-year-old banker was evacuated by boat alongside the two hounds, named Batista and Pandora, on Saturday afternoon, after watching his neighbours in the basement flat below escape via their window.
He said: “I opened the curtains, I saw there was water downstairs. The water level was halfway up the door to the basement flat.
“It’s owned by a couple, I saw them leave through the window as they couldn’t get out the door.
“I’ve spoken to my friend and told him about everything, he’s back tomorrow but knows it’s not as bad as for the basement flat – one week before Christmas.”
Mr Calcagni said water had come up the outside steps to his friend’s home and not inside, but he decided to evacuate to stay with another friend as there was no central heating, no hot water and little food in the house.
“Being on the boat was surreal, there were things floating everywhere… the dogs got excited on the little boat but they’re fine.”
Station commander Gary Deacon said from the scene: “This is a significant flooding that has affected around 100 properties and left thousands without water.
“Shift water rescue crews used boats to move around 20 people to upper floors of properties.
“Three adults and a child were evacuated to a place of safe haven.”
He continued: “A number of residents have decided to remain in their properties and we’re patrolling the affected area to assist any further people who require assistance.
“The water authority are working to isolate the burst water main and firefighters are expected to remain at the scene throughout the afternoon.
“A rest centre has been set up for affected residents at Swiss Cottage Leisure Centre.”
Cody Dolcy-Grant, 27, lives in Hilgrove Road, at the end of Belsize Road, and said she woke up to scenes “like the river Thames” outside her home.
She explained: “I wasn’t aware of the situation ’til 7am when I went to the toilet, realised the toilet wasn’t flushing and no water was coming out of the taps.
“My road was flooded… when I opened the front door it was like a horror scene, fire engines up my whole road, police, ambulance, and then I looked to my left and it was like the river Thames outside.”
Ms Dolcy-Grant lives on the second floor of her building so her home was not flooded, but at noon on Saturday she said she still had no running water, all shops were closed and transport had been halted on her street.
Thames Water said local houses in north-west London, in the postcodes of NW2, NW6, NW8 and NW10, could be experiencing no or low water pressure as a result of the burst main.
The company said in a statement: “We’re sorry to customers in NW6 and the wider area who have no water or lower pressure than normal today due to a burst pipe on Belsize Road.
“Loss adjusters are in the area to assess the damage and support residents in getting their lives back to normal once the water has receded.”
(More to follow)
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