Water Main Break Floods Brighton Park Neighborhood

With temps expected to increase, residents asked to find and keep storm sewers and drains cleared to avoid additional flooding from melting snow

Brighton Park residents on Thursday had much more to worry about than clearing snow off their streets and staying warm.

A water main break in the early afternoon hours sent icy water rushing towards homes in the 3500 block of South Francisco Avenue. Water filled several basements, backyards and alleys.

"I never even seen this before. Never been through this, it's hard core stuff right here," resident Jesus Vargas said.

Crews from Chicago's Department of Water Management were able to slow the rush of water by closing off two valves but weren't able to completely stop the flow until just before 7 a.m. Friday.

The age of the pipe, coupled with the extreme temperature changes the Chicago area has seen this week were blamed for the rupture. Department of Water Management spokesman Tom LaPorte said about 1,000 miles of the city's 4,300 miles of water pipes are more than 100 years old.

Additionally, workers had some difficulty finding all of the valves.

"There is a third valve down the street that we're trying to locate,"LaPorte said while crews worked. "Some of our old records disagree on where it is."

Metal detectors were used to locate the valve.

Officials said water employees have been working 16-hour days to deal with water problems throughout the city.  It was expected those long hours would continue with warmer temperatures expected for the weekend and another temperature drop forecast for next week.

Residents were asked to find and keep storm sewers and drains cleared of debris to avoid additional flooding from melting snow. Additionally, homeowners were reminded to make sure their sump pumps were in good working order.

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