Leicester residents wake up to chaos as water main bursts in Lanesborough Road, Belgrave
A burst water main flooded homes and caused rush hour chaos on one of the city's busiest commuter routes.
The large main in Lanesborough Road, off Melton Road, Belgrave, burst early yesterday morning, flooding homes and gardens with water two feet deep in places.
One resident described the noise of the burst which ruptured the road surface as "like a bomb going off".
Two schools, Rushey Mead Secondary, in Melton Road, and Rushey Mead Primary, Gipsy Lane, closed because they had no running water.
The worst-affected roads were Lanesborough Road,Wavertree Drive, Sandringham Avenue, Berridge Lane and Clarke Street.
Subhash Vanmali, of Lanesborough Road, who lives opposite where the main burst, said: "We were woken up because it sounded like a bomb going off. We've had about an inch of water inside the house and the garden is flooded.
"The water has just got everywhere, it's a complete mess. The water was about two feet deep in the road. We have elderly neighbours either side and we have been out to help them."
Melton Road, between Watermead Way and Checketts Road, was closed to traffic in both directions from 5.30am until 8.30am.
Drivers were forced to take alternative routes into the city centre. Traffic queues built up over several miles in both directions.
The 27-inch steel pipe which burst is described by Severn Trent Water as one of the "motorways" of its pipe network.
It delivers billions of litres of water daily to the north side of Leicester and runs 10 miles from the Hallgates pumping station in Cropston.
Tankers were sent in by Severn Trent to pump away water while residents cleaned up after the burst.
City council highways staff delivered sandbags to some of the worst-affected homes.
Dahya Patel, 84, of Lanesborough Road, said: "We had water inside and the carpets need to be replaced.
"The water came up to the porch and some of it flooded inside the house and there was a lot in the garage."
Frank Rysz, 52, also of Lanesborough Road, said: "I got out of bed at about 5.30am and looked outside the window – it was like a river.
"The water has gone under the floorboards.
"We've got no electrics or central heating.
"I've lost a day's pay because I've had to stay at home to sort things out."
His 77-year-old mum, Stella, went to stay with next door neighbour Arjan Wadher, whose heating was working.
Mr Wadher, 78, said: "A neighbour rang me at about 5.30am to tell me what was happening. There's about a foot-and-a-half of water under my floorboards.
"We're looking after Frank's mum because they have no heating. There is a very good community spirit here, everybody looks after one another."
Over the road, 76-year-old Audrey Kippen, broom in hand, was sweeping the muddy remnants of the floodwater from the front of her bungalow.
She said: "The garage and back garden are under water and there's water under the floorboards, it's a terrible mess.
"I woke up just before 5.30am and heard a swishing sound. I got out of bed and was straight on the phone to the police."
A Severn Trent spokeswoman said: "We'd like to apologise to customers who were affected by the burst water pipe.
"Unfortunately, the burst has caused some damage to the road and some flooding.
"We had a tanker pumping water away from the affected area and are working closely with the police, fire service and Leicester City Council to make sure the community is safe and well.
"We are working as quickly and safely as possible to fix the damaged pipe."
Paul Wallis, the water company's regional service delivery manager for the East Midlands, said the problem may be related to the cold. He said: "At this time of year, there is a lot of movement in the ground as it expands and contracts. That can affect pipes."
A city council spokeswoman said: "We closed off Melton Road in both directions at 5am and reopened it at 8.30am.
"The worst-affected areas were Lanesborough Road, Wavertree Drive, Berridge Lane and Clarke Street.
"At one stage the flooding was two feet deep.
"Council officers delivered sand bags to residents to protect their properties."
The spokeswoman said it was hoped the two schools would reopen today.